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Shaq and the Mini-Shaq, the extreme primates.


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The world’s smallest primate in his hand measures only five inches and weighs two ounces, clearly dwarfed by the 7’1” 325-pound Shaq.

The world’s smallest primate in his hand measures only five inches and weighs two ounces, clearly dwarfed by the 7’1” 325-pound Shaq.

Shaquille O’Neil, one of the world’s most recognizable professional basketball players has used his stature to highlight one of the world’s smallest primates: the mouse lemur from Madagascar.

Shaq, an NBA legend who retired last year and earned a doctorate degree in education from Barry University in 2012, posed with a mouse lemur at Zoo Miami in March to advocate for Centre ValBio, a non-profit conservation organization based in the rainforests of Madagascar. Under the direction of primatologist Dr. Patricia Wright, Centre ValBio aims to better understand and protect the island’s endangered wildlife and habitats.

National Geographic Explorer and TV Host Mireya Mayor & Shaq

National Geographic Explorer and TV Host Mireya Mayor & Shaq

Fuggles the lemur was on loan from the Duke Lemur Center in North Carolina, traveling down to Florida with two handlers and copious supplies of mealworms. Both institutions – Centre ValBio and Duke Lemur Center – are doing excellent work with the people of Madagascar to preserve endangered species habitat through education and economic development. CVB has also built a research facility there.

Shaq was joined by Dr. Mireya Mayor, an author and National Geographic Explorer & TV Host who focuses on primates.

Mireya Mayor and <em>Microcebus mittermier</em> in 2000

Mireya Mayor and Microcebus mittermier in 2000

Mayor has been working in Madagascar since 1997 and has been involved in primate conservation for over 15 years. The idea to photograph one of the world’s largest primates (Shaq) with the world’s smallest came to her when she looked at a National Geographic photograph taken of her and a mouse lemur she co-discovered in northern Madagascar in 2000 (Microcebus mittermieri).

Shaq flexes his muscle for Centre ValBio & the wildlife of Madagascar.

Shaq flexes his muscle for Centre ValBio & the wildlife of Madagascar.

All photos by Ron Magill.



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Comments 5 Comments

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  1. 1. Bora Zivkovic 10:54 am 05/20/2012

    If Shaq is 147 kilograms and Fuggles is 50 grams, he’s nearly 3000 times the mass of the lemur.

    Link to this
  2. 2. Diesel67 10:18 pm 05/21/2012

    Do those lemurs bite? If so, was that one tested for/inoculated against rabies? Even Shaq’s no match for the rabies virus.

    Link to this
  3. 3. Bora Zivkovic 10:52 pm 05/21/2012

    Bite? No, I don’t think so.

    Link to this
  4. 4. calliarcale 3:42 pm 05/23/2012

    Any mammal can bite if you give it a reason to. ;-) Being a captive animal, I’m sure the lemur has been vaccinated against rabies — not so much for Shaq’s sake as the lemur’s.

    Link to this
  5. 5. CS Shelton 12:30 am 05/24/2012

    Wait, no way that thing is the world’s smallest primate. It looks fairly larger than the pygmy marmosets at my local zoo.

    Still a hella cute story.

    Link to this

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