Popular renders by the cartoon Madagascar from Dreamworks, llemurs remain the most representative animals of Madagascar. All species are strepsirrhine primates endemic of the big island. Among them, Microcèbe of Mrs. Berthe, the smallest primate of the world, which weighs 30 grams, as well as the Indri, which can weigh up to 9.5 kg.
How did the lemurs arrive in Madagascar?
According to the researchers, this species would have disappeared in Africa in the face of competition with other primates, those of Madagascar have been able to prosper and evolve. They assume that the first lemurs arrived in Madagascar on floating trunks, following natural disasters because the hypothesis of a residual population protected by the separation of Madagascar from the African continent seems unrealistic. Indeed, this separation took place 90 million years ago while lemurs did not appear until 70 million years ago.
The first men arrived in Madagascar 2000 years ago and were able to meet giant lemurs. The latter were mostly terrestrial and some could weigh 200 kilos like Archaeoindris fontoynontii, who was as big as a gorilla. Today, the biggest of lemurs do not exceed 5 kilos and we know today that 17 species have disappeared during the last two millennia.
Lemurs, an endangered species
15 genera and 101 species and under lemur species were officially recognized in 2010. In relation to these figures, the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) ranks 8 species as Critically Endangered, 18 as Threatened, 15 as Vulnerable, 4 as Near Threatened, 8 as Minor Concern. The lemur family comprises 36 species, the great majority of which are found only in MADAGASCAR.
The economic difficulties that Madagascar encounters is the first cause of deforestation: intensive but low-yielding agriculture, illegal logging of trees including rosewood, not to mention the hunting activities that allow people to live in the country. better conditions. Current statistics have shown that 3% of the island's land is protected, ie 17000 km2.
Following expeditions to remote parts of the island and new genetic identification methods, 3 new lemur species (microcèbes) come from beings discovered by scientists from the University of Antananarivo and the German Primate Center (Deutsches Primatenzentrum, DPZ). These species were respectively named, Microcebus ganzhorni, Microcebus manitatra and Microcebus Boraha
Currently, there are 24 known species of this group of lemurs, whereas 20 years ago, only two types of these small nocturnal primates were listed.
Where to meet them during your stay in Madagascar?
You will meet these lemurs in almost all the natural parks of Madagascar, like, The Ranomafana Park, near'Ambavalao, or even in tourist sites like the Tsingy from Ankarana or Nosy komba.
By cons, the must-see sites to see these beautiful creatures are, Anjozorombeyou will be able to observe the famous Indri Indri, the biggest lemur of Madagascar as well as the lemur with golden crown : the Tattersalli's lecitheca, then, Andasibe Mantadiabecause the park, made up of two protected areas, the Analamazaotra Special Reserve and the Mantadia National Park, is home to 14 species of lemurs and finally, Ankan'ny Nofy, only accessible by boat and known for its dozen species of lemurs moving freely in the reserve, Indri, Sifaka, Coronatus, Varecia, variegata, Propithecus, and many more.