Meet one of the rarest primates: The Greater bamboo lemur

Prolemur simus (formerly known as Hapalemur simus) is one of the most critically endangered lemurs if not the most endangered one. Commonly known as the greater bamboo lemur, fossils records indicate that it was once widespread on the island of Madagascar. However at present, its populations are patchily distributed and restricted to rainforest areas in eastern and southeastern Madagascar, occupying less than 5% of its former range. As the name implies it is the largest of the bamboo-eating lemurs. Feeding is their second main activity with a specialized diet comprising mostly of one species of bamboo: Cathariostachys Madagascariensis (95% of the diet).

The species is cathemeral and lives in groups ranging in size from 4 to 26 individuals and occupying home ranges of 60 ha or more. It is estimated that there are between 100 and 160 greater bamboo lemurs in the wild. Their specialized diet puts them at high risk with habitat destruction (due to slash and burn agriculture), bamboo clearing and hunting being major threats. Availability of drinking water has also been identified as a limiting factor for the species. As surveys continue to look out for new populations, observation of feeding signs indicate a larger expansion of it’s known range. Yet, as several localities where the greater bamboo lemurs are present are not protected, continuous intensive conservation effort is needed to prevent extinction of this critically endangered species.

So cute and precious!

Fabiola Monty

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