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Stunning Blue-Eyed Lemur Species Might Be Extinct in 11 Years

blue eyed lemur

Image credit: Tambako The Jaguar via flickr, CC BY-ND 2.0

The blue-eyed black lemur is technically known as Sclater’s lemur (Eulemur flavifrons). As the animal endemic to the forests of northwestern Madagascar, it is in a critically endangered situation at the moment. According to the computer simulations made by researchers at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa in their latest study released in the African Journal of Ecology, it has demonstrated by that if conditions remain unchanged, such primates would extinct in the nature within eleven years.

As extensive habitat destruction has caused the populations to be fragmented, these lemurs are facing a greater difficulty in reproduction, because it has become harder to find each other. In addition, fewer trees also mean that they can not find more sources of the nectar, pollen, and fruit as their main food. In this case, lemurs have to resort to crops from the farmland, which have replaced their natural habitat, however farmers generally take the lemurs as pests, and kill them as a result.

As early as in 1986, the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) had categorized Sclater’s lemurs as Endangered Animals. When their populations continued to decrease, they had been reclassified as Critically Endangered in 1996. Up to now, it is estimated that there are 1,000 of such lemurs living in the wild.

In implementation of computer simulations of six different scenarios, the researchers tried to predict the survival of the lemurs over the period of the next century. In order to be accurate, each scenario had been carried out for 100 times. Data about the lemurs had been collected in regard to those living in the Ankarafa Forest of Sahamalaza Peninsula National Park, and such data is also involved in average lifespan, population density, reproduction rates as well as some other factors.

The scenarios carried out by the computer were engaged in exploration of how lemurs would eat when they had to face the various rates of habitat destruction, which were quite comparable to the real situation now. Unfortunately, all six scenarios draw the conclusion that the lemurs would be extinct before the end of the century. The computer estimations showed that the lemurs would die out in forty-four years by the lowest rates of habitat destruction, while the highest rates would lead to their elimination just in eleven years.

Although it is only a computer model related to consistent rates of habitat destruction, it is believed by the researchers that their methodology applied in the study should be sound and it was not necessary for them to refine it. Furthermore, the researchers have also offered some kinds of approaches to slowing down habitat destruction so as to conserve Sclater’s lemur population remaining in the wild at this stage..

Source: BBC

Image credit: Tambako The Jaguar via flickr, CC BY-ND 2.0

Journal reference: Volampeno, Maria SN, et al. “A preliminary population viability analysis of the critically endangered blue‐eyed black lemur (Eulemur flavifrons).” African Journal of Ecology (2015).