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Primate Conservation

Coordinators:  Dean Anderson and Nancy Ruggeri, Department of Zoology,
University of Wisconsin-Madison

The World's Top 25 Most Endangered Primates- 2002

A recent report released by Conservation International (CI) and the Primate Specialist
Group of IUCN was finalized at the 2002 International Primatological Society meetings
in Beijing. It is a revision of their previously released "The World's Top 25 most Endangered Primates",
which indicates that about one out of every three primate species is currently
threatened with extinction.  This updated version suggests that Indonesia now exceeds
Madagascar and Brazil for the country with the most endangered primates.  However,
Madagascar, identified as one of the world's biodiversity hotspots, has 10 critically endangered
species, and 21 endangered species.  For the full report, please refer to the link at the bottom
of this message.

Each week, we will be featuring one of the 25 primate species in peril.  This is being
done in conjunction with Conservation International.  The fact sheets are compiled by
Sean Flannery at the WPRC Library and Information Service.

Greater Bamboo Lemur (Hapalemur simus)

Photo Link:

As its common name implies, the greater bamboo lemur is the largest of Madagascar's
bamboo-eating lemurs. Sub-fossil remains confirm that it was once widespread throughout
the island nation, and occasional reports of its existence still filter in from different regions.
However, the best evidence suggests that Hapalemur simus has largely vanished from most
of its former range and only a few relatively small populations have been documented thus
far in the southeast. Hunting and habitat destruction are the presumed causes of its historical disappearance. 
Like the similarly threatened golden bamboo lemur (H. aureus), this species
subsists largely on cyanide-laden giant bamboo - apparently without suffering any ill effects-
but prefers to eat the basal shoots and pith while the golden bamboo lemur prefers leaves and
other plant parts. Due to their dietary similarities, it is not unusual to find the two species
inhabiting the same forests. Both receive protection in the national parks of Ranomafana and Andringitra. 
Primatologists estimate that perhaps a thousand or more individuals inhabit the
Ranomafana region, but not all of them reside within the boundaries of the national park.
Opportunities exist to extend protection to lemur populations in neighboring forests, as well
as to develop a fairly long corridor of protected forests between Ranomafana and Andringitra,
within which it is presumed other greater bamboo lemur populations will be found, as well as
those of the golden bamboo lemur and the endangered Milne-Edwards' sifaka (Propithecus edwardsi).

Relevant Citations:

Wright, P.C., Daniels, P.S., Meyers, D.M., Overdorff, D.J., and Rabesoa, J. 1987.
A census and study of Hapalemur and Propithecus in southeastern Madagascar.
Primate Conservation. Vol. 8, 84-88.

Meier, B. and Rumpler, Y. 1987. Preliminary survey of Hapalemur simus and of
a new species of Hapalemur in eastern Betsileo, Madagascar.
Primate Conservation. Vol. 8, 40-43.

Tan, C.L. 1999. Group composition, home range size, and diet of three sympatric
bamboo lemur species (Genus Hapalemur) in Ranomafana National Park, Madagascar.
International Journal of Primatology. Vol. 20(4), 547- 566.

Fact Sheet:

The full report is available at:
Full report

Topics in Primate Conservation is supported by a grant RR00167,
Regional Primate Centers Program, National Center for Research
Resources, The National Institutes of Health.

Posted Date: 10-29-02