A new assessment of the lemurs reveals that primates are probably the most endangered group of Earth’s polar bears. Why are lemur endangered? Many lemur species are threatened with extinction due to habitat loss and poaching. Although local traditions have generally blocked the loggers and illegal logging in the conservation of their forests, widespread poverty and political instability have hampered and harmed efforts. At the brink of extinction, 95% of the world’s lemur population (source).
The IUCN says Madagascar Island’s uniquely featured primates have been threatened by farming, illegal logging, charcoal production and habitat loss from mining. Experts have classified 38 lemur species as critically endangered, 44 endangered and 23 vulnerable in the IUCN Red List.
Almost every species of lemur is at risk of extinction, becoming the world’s most endangered primate, scientists warn.
The main reasons for their tropical forest habitat destruction in Madagascar, as a result of illegal tree cutting, charcoal production, and mining.
But round-eyed primates are also increasingly hunting for restaurant food.
And some are captured for the pet business.
Conservationists believe that more than 3 types of lemurs – 95% of all known species and subspecies – are probably critically endangered, endangered, and at risk of extinction in the wild.
Dozens of primate conservation experts around the world reviewed the conservation status of 1150 species and subspecies of all native lemurs in Madagascar and gave updated evaluations for the IUCN Red List of Extinction.
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Global Wildlife Conservation charity Rush Mittermeyer said the group’s findings “pose an extremely high extinction risk for Madagascar’s unique lemurs” and “represent a serious threat to Madagascar’s biodiversity as a whole.”
“This is undoubtedly the highest percentage of threats to any large mammal and to any large vertebrate group,” he said.
Christoph Schweitzer, a professor at the Bristol Zoological Society and vice-chairman of the Primate Specialist Group, told the BBC: “More and more, we are seeing unstable levels of lemon hunting.
“We also see commercial hunting – probably Mad for local restaurants and this is a new phenomenon for Madagascar – we have not seen it on this scale 15 years ago.”
IUCN already has a “Lemur Action Plan” for animal conservation, including habitat protection where the most threatened species will help local people avoid animal hunting to tackle poverty through the Ecotourism Project.