Lemurs, the big-eyed primates that can only be found on the island of Madagascar, are almost all under threat, explains the BBC after examining a report from the Primate Specialist Group. Experts say that 105 of 111 lemur species and subspecies, i.e. 95 percent of Earth’s lemurs, are on the brink of extinction, which makes them the most endangered primates in the world.
Unsurprisingly, the threat to lemurs comes from the destruction of their habitat for “so-called slash-and-burn agriculture, illegal logging, charcoal production, and mining,” says the BBC. But hunting the primates for food or capturing them to sell them in the illegal pet trade are also responsible for their dwindling numbers. According to Global Wildlife Conservation, “For more than 40 million years, lemurs evolved in isolation on the island of Madagascar, free from competition from monkeys and apes,” but it took only 1,500 years of Homo sapiens on the island to wreck it all.
Biodiversity is the fabric of life on Madagascar. The economy largely relies on tourists coming to admire the unique fauna and flora of one of the largest biodiversity hotspots in the world, including baobab trees and lemurs.
In an attempt to reverse this sad trend, experts are planning a massive action plan for lemur conservation. According to Global Wildlife Conservation, $8 million was raised “for lemur conservation, which is now being disbursed to dozens of conservation projects.”