Madagascar’s lemurs close to extinction after population crash

Ring-tailed lemurs have experienced a precipitous decline over the last two decades and are now one of the 25 most endangered primates in the world

Cute they may be, but ring-tailed lemurs are in deep trouble in Madagascar, according to a report listing the world’s 25 most endangered primates.

According to rough estimates two decades ago, ring-tailed lemurs once numbered “several hundred thousand” throughout the island. But according to a recent census included in the report, numbers have now crashed to between 2500 and 3000.

“It’s so dramatic we felt we had to highlight it,” says lead author Christoph Schwitzer, director of conservation at Bristol Zoological Society. “They are the most abundant primate in zoos, but they’re being hammered in their natural habitat.”

The report, published today, is titled Primates in Peril: The world’s 25 most endangered primates 2016-2018.

Schwitzer says there are three major factors driving the rapid decline. One is the desperate poverty that drives citizens to kill lemurs for food: 69

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