Monday, March 27, 2017
Ring Tailed Lemur Now on Edge of Extinction
This situation is especially alarming since ring-tails are the most adaptable of lemur species. More specialized lemurs such as the indri and safakas will find it increasingly difficult to survive in what remains of natural Madagascar. Over 90% of the island natural tree cover is gone, and what hangs on is degraded and fragmented. Humans have occupied the island since at least the first century CE. Madagascar separated from mainland Africa millennia ago, so many of its wild creatures are endemic including the 106 species of lemur, 17 of which have gone extinct since the arrival of humans. The human population of the island is thought to be in excess of 25 million, 85% of which live in poverty and are dependent on subsistence farming. More and more land is being cleared to support a human population level that is increasingly unsustainable. The lemur's future on the planet is in the hands of island's human inhabitants. Fortunately, lemurs do relatively well in captivity, reproduce regularly, and can live to thirty years of age compared to twenty years for wild lemurs.