Alaotran Gentle Lemur
This species is native to the reed beds in and around Lac Alaotra, in northeast Madagascar. This lemur is the only primate specifically adapted to living in this marshy, wetlands area.
Alaotran gentle lemurs mainly feed on papyrus stems and other reeds and grasses.
They are active at both day and night, and use a variety of calls and scent marking to communicate.
Mating season for the gentle lemur occurs in June and July. Females usually give birth to a single young. Mothers carry their young in their mouth until the babies are strong enough to cling to the mother’s back! Young lemurs are weaned after about 16 weeks and develop rather quickly relative to other primate species.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature lists the Alaotran gentle lemur as Critically Endangered, and their overall population in the wild has declined by over 80% since the 1990s.
The biggest threat this species faces is the conversion of their wetlands habitat to rice fields. In many reports, this lemur is recognised as one of the 25 most endangered primate species in the world.
There are a number of measures in place to help conserve these lemurs. Iinternational trade in this lemur is illegal and there are local initiatives to to educate local people on the importance of habitat conservation. Despite there being fewer than 100 individuals in zoological collections across Europe, there is an Endangered Species breeding programme (EEP) that we are now part of.
- Latin Name: Hapalemur alaotrensis
- Class: Mammals
- Order: Primates
- Family: Lemuridae
- Conservation status: Critically Endangered
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