How did the book “Who’s Yawning Now?” come to be written? It is a children’s photo storybook of animals and birds around the world caught yawning. It tells the animal’s name, where it lives, what it eats, three interesting facts about each animal, and how endangered it is, as listed on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, which is the best-known worldwide conservation status listing and ranking system. Information is included on why some animals yawn.
I have been a photographer for many decades, and about 30 years ago, I saw a huge hippo yawning. It was such a gigantic yawn that I had to photograph it. From there, I thought that it would be interesting to take photos of animals around the world yawning. I then decided that a children’s A to Z book of animal yawns would be a fun book to write. However, I ran into a problem; I had no animals for the letters Q, U, or X. Instead, I then pulled the most interesting yawning animals together and combined them in the Who’s Yawning Now? book. My book is available on Reader’s Magnet, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. I hope you find it fun and interesting. Please leave a review if you do. My favorite animal in the entire book is the Lemur, which is probably the most critically endangered of all the animals that are shown yawning.
Almost 35% of the 103 species of Lemurs of Madagascar are critically endangered, and one step away from extinction, according to the Switzerland IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The worst part is that their habitat has been 90% destroyed up to date. There has been no mandate from the government to stop the slash and burn ongoing policies since the beginning of human life in Madagascar and even more in the past 20 years. The government must educate their people about how this practice destroys the habitat of these delightful animals and changes and destroys the entire biodiversity of this unique island, the 4th largest in the world. Because rice is the Malagasy people’s primary food, they don’t seem to understand the consequences that the destruction of the forests causes, with flooding, landslides, rivers being clogged with soil, destroying the fishing, and much more.
The most recent problem has been the Chinese who have come to Madagascar with their goal to buy as much land as possible to set up large rice and sugar cane plantations. They come in, and go from one farm to the next and offer impoverished, uneducated people some money. These are Malagasy people who have lived in the same place for generations, and they have no idea what it means to move, or be forced from their homes. When told that they must move because they were paid money for their place, these Malagasy have no idea that what they did will affect the rest of their lives, and with no place to go, they are in worse condition than before. The Malagasy government is allowing all of this to take place rather than kicking the Chinese out.
The poor Lemurs are caught in the middle of this mess, and need advocates such as you and I and many others who can petition the Malagasy government to stop all of this slash and burn practice before the entire island is destroyed. Madagascar has such a diverse landscape, with rainforests, beaches, deserts, dry deciduous forests, with 85% of the plant life found nowhere else in the world. There are still many varieties of orchids and other plants to be discovered and named. The animals and insects are also the most unusual people have never encountered anywhere else in the world. For example, have you ever heard of a Giraffe beetle? It is a unique looking insect. Also, the Comet moth is the largest in the world and only lives for a week. It has a non-functioning mouth and inner parts. Another little-known animal is the Tenrec, a shew-ke and hedgehog-like mamal. Especially adorable is the Lowland Streaked Tenrec. It’s the size of a large mouse, with a very long nose, and it looks like it has had a horrible hair day with black and bright yellow spikey hair sticking out all over.
Along with the Lemurs, all of the existing flora and fauna are at incredible risk. All will be lost if the Chinese have their way. The Malagasy government must set proper rules and guidelines for maintaining the forests, and the Malagasy people must be taught to preserve and conserve the gift that they have in defending their lands and forests, and all that live there. They can have so much more through Ecotourism.
You can see all this for yourself when you come with me on the adventure of a lifetime in this bio-diversity wonderland. Join me on my Magical Madagascar Photo Tour, October 2-17, 2021. I have a Malagasy tour operator who has picked out the Best of the Best of Madagascar for us to see and do.