Batty Boat Cruise departure point on the Brisbane River, with the CBD skyline in the background
When I returned to Brisbane after living overseas for a few years, I was able to briefly see the city from a fresh perspective as I re-acclimatised to my surroundings. That was when I began to notice and appreciate a strange sight that happens every evening around our downtown district, one that long-term city residents undoubtedly take for granted. If you ever get to walk around the city centre at sunset yourself, you'll see what I mean. The bustling peak-hour crowds, the traffic and the noise will feel familiar no matter which city you are from. And when you look up at the skyscrapers towering into the evening air, well that could be a sight from any modern-day metropolis around the globe, couldn't it? But then you'll notice the bats.
The Indri (Indri indri) is the largest surviving Lemur in the world. Its upright nature and diurnal habits inspire many legends among the Madagascan villagers whom encounter it, who make special note of the Indri's human-like qualities. For some time, this has afforded the creature a certain amount of protection, as locals have historically felt uncomfortable killing an animal that is seen in some ways as 'kin'. The creeping influence of capitalism combined with the erosion of traditional cultural values however, has led to the demise of this fascinating animal, which is now listed as 'critically endangered'. Less than 10,000 of these peaceful herbivores now exist, with increased land clearing predicted to decimate these numbers further.