Being swarmed by a crowd of fluffy primates might sound like a dream come true, but apparently, it is more of a nightmare. While reporting from Norfolk’s Banham Zoo, a BBC journalist was literally mobbed by lemurs, and by “mobbed,” I mean “bitten and climbed on like a tree.” Unfortunately for him, but fortunately for the rest of the world, the encounter took place while the camera was rolling. Now, footage of the man desperately trying to keep his cool as countless lemurs treat him like a chew toy has gone viral. Prospective veterinarians, beware: The upcoming clip might deter you from ever working with animals.
BBC News reporter Alex Dunlop had traveled to the Banham Zoo to report on its annual animal count, during which the keepers record the number of animals in their care. According to the zoo’s website, this is easier said than done. “Cheetahs are quite easy to spot! (excuse the pun), whilst our education officers have the slightly trickier job of counting around 1,000 Madagascar hissing cockroaches at Banham Zoo and over 100 giant land snails at Africa Alive!” it explains. (In case you’re wondering, keepers remove these animals from their tanks and count them one… by… one.)
You might think that lemurs wouldn’t be too difficult to count, given their size and the eye-catching striped tails, but if Dunlop’s experience is any indication, they are harder to corral than they appear. The news team arrived at the zoo intending to film a television spot in which he would report surrounded by a group of the zoo’s eight lemurs. The lemurs, however, had different plans, which can be summed up by the following screenshot from the video.
Actually, no. I found it. This is the one screenshot to rule them all.
Wait. No. I found it. This is the one screenshot to rule them all.
As you may have guessed, Dunlop had some trouble recording his spot while lemurs flew at his face from every direction. One attempt was cut short before he could even say the name of the zoo when a lemur bit his finger. “You little nipper,” he muttered.
Another time, he made it as far as explaining that he was reporting on the zoo’s animal stockade when a lemur decided to munch on his hand again. His reaction had to be censored.
“Well, this, I think, is one of the more enjoyable parts of the job, counting lemurs,” he quipped wearily.
Who knew eight excitable lemurs could do so much damage?
Although the television spot was a bit of a disaster, the BBC recognized that it had filmed something far more interesting to the public. The news team compiled the footage into a hilarious video and posted it on YouTube on Monday. By Wednesday afternoon, it had been watched more than 387,000 times and reached number 27 on the list of trending videos.
While you’re riding the high of watching that adorable video, take a moment to remember that many species of lemurs are endangered. According to the World Wildlife Federation, there are 50 species total. Ten types are critically endangered, seven are endangered, and 19 are considered vulnerable. Furthermore, 80 percent of the lemur’s Madagascar habitat has been destroyed, and ring-tailed lemurs have all but disappeared from the country’s forests. Lemurs may be able to torment reporters in zoos, but they are having a tough time in the wild.
Luckily, the BBC outtakes have ensured nobody is going to forget about lemurs anytime soon. If there’s anything the Internet loves, it’s schadenfreude and fuzzy animals. This video combines both into a single, bitingly hilarious package.