Bonding with an endangered species

There will be a longer post soon, but I just had to share what happened today. Matt and I went to the Ueno Zoo, and we got to see pandas, seals, RED PANDA, elephants, giraffes, a polar bear, all kinds of birds and slithery creatures and primates. The stuff you’d pretty much expect to see at a zoo. But by far my favorite encounter was totally unexpected.

We went into the aye-aye habitat toward the end of our visit. I had no flippin idea what an aye-aye is, but the door said to be quiet and that no flash photography was allowed. So we go in to the dark and the hush, and there are four enclosures, each with an aye-aye in it. Turns out the animal is a nocturnal lemur from Madagascar. The first two were pretty quiet. The third one…

The third aye-aye was doing some sort of stretch-meets-dance in his little treetop. He was beautiful, his huge eyes gleaming in the very low light. I crouched down near a branch and got very close to the glass, and the little guy came RIGHT UP TO ME and stared into my eyes. I put my fingertips against the glass and the aye-aye hesitated for just a second before he put his hand against the glass too and we just looked at each other. We communed. It was absolutely magical.

Then he was back in the tree, hunting, and it was over. There was a sign as we left saying that the aye-ayes can only be seen in captivity (off Madagascar, where they’re from) at the Ueno Zoo. So I’d never have met the beautiful little guy, and I’ll probably never see one again.

But what a moment.

Learn more about the aye-aye here:

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