AboutZoos, Since 2008


The num­ber of ring-​tailed lemurs is plum­met­ing at alarm­ing rate

pub­lished 21 Decem­ber 2016 | mod­i­fied 21 Decem­ber 2016

Ring-tailed lemurAn alarm­ing decline of the ring-​tailed lemur through­out Mada­gas­car has researchers call­ing for quick action before this iconic pri­mate goes extinct. Anthro­pol­o­gist and pri­ma­tol­o­gist Lisa Gould co-​authored a new study “Going, Going, Gone…Is the Iconic Ring-​tailed Lemur (Lemur catta) Headed for Immi­nent Extir­pa­tion?” about the con­tin­ued decline of the ring-​tailed lemur pop­u­la­tion in Mada­gas­car. The study is pub­lished this month in the jour­nal Pri­mate Con­ser­va­tion by the Pri­mate Spe­cial­ist Group of the Species Sur­vival Com­mis­sion, a science-​based net­work within the Inter­na­tional Union for the Con­ser­va­tion of Nature.

Our paper shows the ring-​tailed lemur is dis­ap­pear­ing from the wild, despite the abil­ity of this species to suc­cess­fully adapt to many dif­fer­ent habitats
Lisa Gould, co-​author, depart­ment of anthro­pol­ogy, Uni­ver­sity of Vic­to­ria, Canada »

Ring-​tailed lemur pop­u­la­tions can­not sur­vive in com­pletely degraded habi­tats or under extreme hunt­ing pres­sure,” added Gould.

The pop­u­la­tions in Mada­gas­car are threat­ened due to extreme destruc­tion of habi­tat, unsus­tain­able and ille­gal hunt­ing for bush­meat and growth of the ille­gal pet trade. Gould is call­ing for a detailed sur­vey to be done of three national parks where the pri­mate is still known to exist: Andrin­gi­tra, Tsi­manam­pe­sotse and Isalo. These parks con­tain large tracts of for­est and shel­ter, but the ter­rain is dif­fi­cult to tra­verse, so tech­nol­ogy such as drones with ther­mal imag­ing cam­eras could be used to enter these areas.

The ring-​tailed lemur is listed as Endan­gered accord­ing the IUCN Red List of Threat­ened Species, but this is based on an assess­ment con­ducted in 2012. The species’ cur­rent con­ser­va­tion sta­tus appears to be worse, which would make the ring-​tailed lemur to be one of the most endan­gered mam­mals on the planet. Even within national parks and pro­tected areas they are not safe: in one national park they are now extinct, and at two oth­ers, they exist either in extremely low num­bers or not at all. Gould and co-​author Michelle Sauther from the Uni­ver­sity of Col­orado are senior researchers with over 30 years of expe­ri­ence each with the ring-​tailed lemur of Mada­gas­car and they esti­mate no more than 2,000 to 2,400 still remain in the wild.

(Source: Uni­ver­sity of Vic­to­ria media release, 19.12.2016)

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