Lemurs, native to only Madagascar, are nearing extinction. They come in various colors, have long snouts, and some have ringed tails. It is their large eyes, however, that are most memorable. They are also Madagascar’s most iconic brand, and a basis for a large ecotourism industry.
More than one lemurs species can co-exist in one area, because many species have differing diets. For example some might eat tree bark and sap, while others are more likely to eat fruits like figs, seeds and leaves. They also vary in size from 30 grams (1.1 oz) like Madame Berth’s mouse lemur, to the Indri approximately 9 kg (20 lbs).
According to the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature), Lemurs are expected to become up to 95% extinct in the next 20 to 25 years. There are 111 known species and subspecies, and 105 are thought to be critically endangered, endangered, or vulnerable. Slash and burn agriculture, illegal logging, mining, charcoal production, and what is considered to be an unsustainable level of poaching, are to blame.
Christoph Schwitzer, of the Bristol Zoological Society, is involved in implementing the Lemur Action Plan, and considers the statistics concerning lemurs “very alarming”.