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Lemurs Named Most Endangered Mammals on Earth

Lemurs Named Most Endangered Mammals on Earth

The International Union for Conservation of Nature Species Survival Commission held a conference in Madagascar this week to discuss the fate of the world’s 103 lemur species and came to the shocking conclusion that they are the most endangered mammals on earth.

“Madagascar has, by far, the highest proportion of threatened species of any primate habitat region or any one country in the world. As a result, we now believe that lemurs are probably the most endangered of any group of vertebrates,” said primatologist Christoph Schwitzer, head of research at Bristol Zoo Gardens in the United Kingdom and the IUCN advisor on Madagascar’s primates.

More than 90 percent of the world’s lemur species have been upgraded to critically endangered, endangered or vulnerable on the IUCN’s Red List of Threatened Species list, which scientists are attributing to changes in the landscape since the last assessment was done in 2005. The northern sportive lemur may be rarest of all, with just 18 known individuals left.

Political instability in the area has led to an increase in poverty and driven illegal logging and hunting for the bush meat trade, which is destroying the tropical forest habitat in Madagascar, the only place in the world lemurs are found in the wild. Scientists also believe that the decline in their numbers will negatively affect tourism, further exacerbating poverty in the area and causing more problems that could lead to their disappearance.

Scientists will continue to work on a plan and expect there to be 30 to 40 projects to address this issue over the next three years with a budget of $5 to $10 million, Russell Mittermeier, president of Conservation International, told CNN. However, he notes that it’s not much to save an entire forest and population.

A bit of good news at the conference came in the form of an announcement about the discovery of a new species of mouse lemur found in eastern Madagascar by Peter Kappeler and a team from the German Primate Center.

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Photo credit: Thinkstock

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132 comments

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11:59AM PDT on Mar 13, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

3:06AM PST on Mar 4, 2013

They've got the right to survive

8:21AM PDT on Oct 2, 2012

so sad. they are beautiful. we have a few in our zoo and they are so playful.

3:09AM PDT on Sep 10, 2012

This is so sad, I hope more can be done to save them.

11:52PM PDT on Jul 31, 2012

SUCH BEAUTIFUL ANIMALS, THIS CAN;T HAPPEN. WE WILL BE DIMINISHED AS HUMANS IF IT DOES.

7:22AM PDT on Jul 30, 2012

I wish humans were the most endangered mammals on Earth.

11:11AM PDT on Jul 27, 2012

Isaac Bashevis Singer Nobel Peace Prize Winner wrote in his book, 'Enemies a love story', "As often has Herman had witnessed the slaughter of animals and fish, he always had the same thought. In their behaviour toward creatures, all men were Nazi’s. The smugness with which man could do with other species as he pleased exemplify the most extreme racist theories the principle that might is right. Lest we forget!

8:24PM PDT on Jul 26, 2012

HUMANS HAVE TURNED OUT TO BE SUCH LOUSY CARETAKERS OF THIS EARTH!! THESE CREATURES ARE SO VERY SPECIAL AND SIMPLY MUST BE SAVED. LONG LIVE THE LEMURS!!

12:35PM PDT on Jul 22, 2012

Why aren't we taking care of the endangered animals?

6:39AM PDT on Jul 19, 2012

sad. signed.

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