Citing animal conservationists employed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), at least 95% of the world’s lemur populations face the lingering threat of imminent extinction.
With such a precarious situation afoot, lemur populations remain alarmingly volatile toward a bevy of threatening factors, including agricultural activities, climate change, deforestation, and illegal hunting, to name a few.
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Lemurs are endemic to the island country of Madagascar, a place recognized for its dense rainforests and biodiversity. At least 105 of 111 the known lemur species found there are impacted by the factors mentioned above.
Climate change impacts the primates’ habitat and makes prey scarcer, while deforestation and logging reduce the number of trees available for them to hide in. Adding insult to injury, the animals are often hunted by locals for bushmeat.
"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 of the IUCN.
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"Lemurs are to Madagascar what giant pandas are to China -- they are the goose that laid the golden egg, attracting tourists and nature lovers," added Jonah Ratsimbazafy, a researcher with the domestic primate protection group GERP.
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Lemurs are particularly adaptive creatures, but they can’t keep up with the onslaught of threats imposed by human-related activities.
The circumstances underscore the need for stricter conservation measures, including laws and regulations that shield the animals from threats. Otherwise, Madagascar could lose one of its most appealing attractions that global tourists frequently visit to see.