The Most Endangered Group of Primates

400 million years ago these prosimian primates rafted to Madagascar on floating islands of vegetation. Deep in the forests of Madagascar you’ll find them today, spending all of their time awake in the trees, generally eating fruit, and if not eating, then grooming each other or sunbathing. 400 million years ago they had no predators but sadly today it’s different story. Lemurs have lost more than 80 percent of their habitat in Madagascar since humans first arrived 2,000 years ago.

They are one of the world’s most endangered mammals and the most endangered group of primates. Ninety-five percent of Earth’s lemur population is threatened. Of the planet’s 111 known lemur species and subspecies, 105 are critically endangered, endangered or vulnerable, a group of primate specialists from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) determined. The IUCN Red List, which is the world’s most comprehensive inventory of the global conservation status of biological species, was updated recently to show that that 33 lemur species are now classified as Critically Endangered, with 103 of the 107 surviving species threatened with extinction.

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