Alaotran gentle lemur

Alaotran Gentle Lemur
Scientific Name
Hapalemur alaotrensis
Animal type
Mammal
Location
Lac Alaotra the largest lake in Madagascar.
Conservation Status
Critically Endangered

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This Critically Endangered lemur lives only in the papyrus and reed beds surrounding Madagascar’s largest lake - Lac Alaotra.

Known locally as ‘bandro’, it is the only primate in the world whose habitat is confined to wetlands, and it is currently being eaten to extinction. The successful captive breeding and research programme we began at Durrell in 1990 now involves eight other zoos and provides a ‘safety net’, should the worst happen in the wild.

Although legally protected in Madagascar, gentle lemurs are still poached in large numbers for cheap meat. Their habitat is burned repeatedly to drive terrified lemurs towards the poachers’ clubs, and to improve access to lakeside pools for fishermen. The tremendous habitat loss that was occurring in the past, through burning and marshland drainage for agriculture, has thankfully been slowed down.

Our education programme involving communities around the lake has begun to persuade local people that it is in their interest to protect their marshland and regenerate its vegetation. The lemurs now need their mercy. The most recent figures from monitoring work show an alarming trend - in the last five years, 30% of the wild population has been lost, which leaves about 5000 in the struggle for survival.

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