By WAN –
August 7, 2018
A shocking report has come to light after 50 global experts in primate conservation evaluated the status of Lemurs.
Of the planet’s 111 known lemur species and subspecies, the disheartening results indicated that 105 might qualify as critically endangered, endangered, or vulnerable to extinction in the wild; making them the most endangered mammal on the planet.
As per the report, the primates that are unique to the island of Madagascar have been threatened due to habitat loss from agriculture, illegal logging, charcoal production and mining. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, besides habitat loss, hunting the animals for food, and capturing them as pets, has emerged as a new threat as well.
“This is, without a doubt, the highest percentage of threat for any large group of mammals and for any large group of vertebrates,” said Russ Mittermeier, Chief Conservation Officer for Global Wildlife Conservation and chair of the IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC) Primate Specialist Group (PSG) said in a statement. “This assessment not only highlights the very high extinction risk Madagascar’s unique lemurs face, but it is indicative of the grave threats to Madagascar’s biodiversity as a whole. Madagascar’s unique and wonderful species are its greatest asset, its most distinctive brand and the basis for a major ecotourism industry.”
The updated assessments resulting from the recent PSG-led workshop will require further validation through a review process, but provisionally find that primate experts consider a staggering 38 lemur species to be critically endangered, 44 endangered and 23 vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. This represents an increase of 12 threatened species from the last workshop conducted back in 2012.
Among the most spectacular species of lemurs up-listed from endangered to critically endangered in the assessment is the Indri, the largest of the living lemurs and a species of symbolic value comparable to that of China’s giant panda.
Another striking lemur is the critically endangered blue-eyed black lemur, one of the few primate species other than humans that has blue eyes. Probably the rarest lemur is the northern sportive lemur, also critically endangered, of which there are only about 50 known individuals left. All nine species of the sifakas subspecies have also now been listed as critically endangered.
The IUCN SSC Lemur Red List and Conservation Planning Workshop included more than 50 experts from the United States, UK, Canada, Germany, Italy, France, Portugal and Madagascar.
All of these experts are working together to implement a major action plan for lemur conservation to update a very successful plan published in 2013 using information from the July workshop. That plan succeeded in raising more than $8 million for lemur conservation, which is now being disbursed to dozens of conservation projects around the world.
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