Individuals are fast to acknowledge lemurs, thanks in no small half to the “Madagascar” franchise. Regardless of their spectacular media profile, nonetheless, almost each species of lemur is in peril of extinction.
These are the provisional findings of a current lemur workshop led by the IUCN Species Survival Fee Primate Specialist Group (PSG), and the findings have resulted within the reclassification of 105 species as both critically endangered, endangered or susceptible on the IUCN’s Purple Listing of Threatened Species.
“That is, unquestionably, the best proportion of risk for any massive group of mammals and for any massive group of vertebrates,”stated Russ Mittermeier, chief conservation officer for World Wildlife Conservation and chair of the PSG.
Why lemurs matter
The 5 households of lemurs, 15 genera and 111 species and subspecies are all endemic to Madagascar, a hotbed of biodiversity. Lemurs characterize about 20 p.c of all primate species on the planet, which makes Madagascar one of many 4 main areas for primates on the earth, regardless of the island being fourth-fifths the scale of Texas. Solely Brazil has richer primate variety, however that South American nation is six occasions the scale of Madagascar.
A decline within the lemur inhabitants would mark a big blow for not solely the island’s biodiversity however its economic system as properly.
“Lemurs are to Madagascar what large pandas are to China — they’re the goose that laid the golden egg, attracting vacationers and nature lovers to go to the Purple Island,” stated Jonah Ratsimbazafy, president of Groupe d’Etude et de Recherche sur les Primates de Madagascar.
The brand new evaluation discovered that 38 lemur species, up from 24, to be critically endangered, 44 endangered and 23 susceptible on the IUCN Purple Listing. Two mouse lemur species had been thought-about of least concern for extinction, and 4 different species weren’t categorised in any respect as a consequence of a scarcity of knowledge.
The outcomes are solely provisional and would require extra evaluation earlier than they’re made official.
The indri, one of many largest dwelling lemurs, had its classification modified from endangered to critically endangered within the new survey. The blue-eyed black lemur, one of many few non-human mammals with blue eyes, can be now thought-about critically endangered. The rarest of lemurs, the northern sportive lemur, is critically endangered as properly. There are solely 50 identified people within the wild.
The most important risk is us
Threats to lemurs embody destruction of their forest habitats, whether or not by way of slash-and-burn agriculture, unlawful logging and mining. Searching the lemurs for meals or to promote as pets has additionally elevated because the final survey in July 2012.
“That is very alarming, and we’ve got seen a very worrying enhance within the stage of searching of lemurs going down, together with larger-scale industrial searching, which is not like something we’ve got seen earlier than in Madagascar,” stated Christoph Schwitzer, director of conservation on the Bristol Zoological Society and one of many organizers of the workshop.
“We’re investing a variety of time and assets into addressing these points,” Schwitzer continued, “and will probably be implementing our Lemur Action Plan over the approaching years, which we’re assured will make a big distinction to the present scenario.”