Right on the heals of yesterday’s report about the imminence of orang-utan habitat destruction, comes a similar report about the future of lemurs, the destruction of their habitat, and what we can do about it all. Lemur are a primitive primate, and are distinct from anthropoids. So they are classified as prosimians. Oh yes, there are roughly 70 species of identified lemur… nearly all of which are endangered.
In National Geographic News, “Threatened Lemurs’ Diet Key to Conservation Efforts, Researchers Say,” Summer Arrigo-Nelson‘s, an anthropologist who has been working in Madagascar’s Ranomafana National Park, research shows us that,
“[lemurs] living in unspoiled forest are eating a more nutritious diet than those in disturbed forest, since fruits and their seeds are a potent source of sugars and fats.”
Arrigo-Nelson came about this conclusion by analyzing a one-year snapshot of deforestation in Ranomafana. In her dissertation, she discusses the effect of habitat disturbance on lemurs; where lemurs in pristine habitat have a richer diet than those in disturbed habitat. Diet is closely tied in with fitness, since nutrition determines body weight, maintainence of pregnancies, and producution of high-quality milk for their offspring. Since lemurs breed only every two years,
“Arrigo-Nelson hopes to extend her research to address questions on infant mortality in pristine habitat and how lemurs respond as disturbed habitat recovers.”
Arrigo-Nelson has observed that in places where halted in 1989, small trees are now bearing fruit, enough to support an influx in the black and white ruffed lemur population, who eat fruits. Arrigo-Nelson says the rebound is pretty remarkable, and if that’s all it takes then why aren’t we stopping the illegal logging and deforestation in Madagascar?