Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Greater Bamboo Lemur

Prolemur simus
The Greater Bamboo Lemur is yet another one of the 22 different Lemur species found on the island of Madagascar.  They are the largest of the Bamboo Lemurs, sporting an average body length about about 1.5ft. They are identified by their bright white ear tufts.

As their name indicates, these primates feed almost exclusively on Bamboo (98% of their diet!) They have very strong jaws that they use to strip the hard grass down, and amazingly, they can also eat the young leaves. Those same leaves are chock full of cyanide, yet the Lemurs show no ill effects towards them!

Another amazing thing about the Great Bamboo Lemurs is that everyone believed they were extinct during the first half of the 20th century. They were first identified in 1870, but were thought to be gone by around 1900. They were re-discovered in 1972, with tiny populations hiding out in two very small ranges.

They are currently listed as Critically Endangered, due to their tiny habitat zone and specialized Bamboo diet. That same area is also under threat of deforestation. It is estimated that less than 150 are still left in the wild. Surveys are being done, but they are tragically receiving very little protection from the local government.

IUCN Status : Critically Endangered
Location : Madagascar
Size : Body length around 18in (45cm)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Mammalia -- Order : Primates
Family : Lemuridae -- Genus : Prolemur -- Species : P. simus
Image : Save Nature


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