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Lemur extinction: End of endangered species? Fatal risk of falling populations

Lemur extinction threats have hit an all-time high this 2014, with the risk of these endangered species dying out in the next several years very possible if falling populations continue to plummet, warns a new report. The island of Madagascar has long been home to the lemur, but animal experts fear a combination of human invasion and even hunting are effectively claiming the homes and lives of these creatures. Guardian LV News shares this Sunday, Feb. 23, 2014, that scientists are now working at a rapid pace to determine what solutions might be reached in an attempt to save this already endangered species before time runs out.

Lemur populations threatened by extinction this 2014
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

With populations of these wide-eyed primates drastically dropping in recent years, lemur extinction is a very real threat that needs to be countered as soon as possible, researchers are saying this week. While the island of Madagascar off the coast of Africa is the only known original living residence of these unique animals, their days may indeed be numbered with the “risk rate at a deadly high” due to a variety of factors, adds the press release.

Researchers believe that a number of fatal reasons are contributing to the shocking loss of lemur populations, while experts confirm that out of the 103 lemur species that are indigenous to Madagascar, well over 90 of these species are in fact considered endangered. These primates have now entered the realm of being at “high risk for future extinction,” adds the report. More public attention to potential lemur extinction was given after these dozens of lemur species made it onto the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s holistic list of severely threatened creatures recently.

Although solutions won’t be easy, it’s hopeful that taking an immediate approach to determining just what is causing these lemur populations to fall so swiftly and causing these animals to suffer will prevent total extinction of these primates. A majority of the causes cited to the diminishing numbers are attributed to the destruction of the environment and the lemurs’ natural habitats: namely, the forests of Madagascar.

Despite it being illegal, many land developers and farmers continue to use harmful slash-and-burn methods that devastate the natural surroundings but yield a significant harvesting of plants, particularly the much-desired ebony trees and rosewood. These excessive measures strip away at the lemur territory, further compounded by hunting. Due to political troubles and extreme poverty being prevalent in certain areas of the island of Madagascar, a number of residents attempt to hunt and kill these creatures for food. Recent African government efforts to keep these at-risk animals safe from fatal influence have been mostly ineffective, and lemur extinction continues to loom threateningly as populations dwindle.

An emergency conference was held earlier this 2014 where animal experts and conservational researchers worked together to draft a response plan that will “work to save the lemurs.” Scientists say that the proposal is an expensive one, however, costing over $7.5 million over the course of three years with a triple-action plan intended to keep remaining lemur populations safe. The rescue efforts will first aim to protect the endangered primates’ natural habitat from any more forest destruction, facilitate opportunities for experts to observe these at-risk animals, and finally raise further funds and public awareness to keep populations safe via eco-tourism.

Ryan enjoys writing about trending news headlines and entertainment topics. To stay up-to-date on his latest stories, you can follow him on Twitter @RyanArciero or on his community Facebook page, Top News Examiner.

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