Estimating endangered lemur abundance: Coquerel’s sifaka

Coquerel’s sifaka.

Madagascar is one of the hottest Biodiversity hotspots, well known by the diverse species of lemurs living there. The Coquerel’s sifaka is one of the lemur species that has been classified by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as an “endangered” species. Despite this status, no reliable population density and abundance estimates were available until now, that could be used in the planning of conservation strategies.

It was known that Coquerel’s sifaka survives in small areas of the highly fragmented forests, and in the ANP, the largest forested area in northwest Madagascar with about 1000 km2. The fieldwork developed in the ANP allowed Kun-Rodrigues and Salmona to determine that the density of the Coquerel’s sifaka population was dramatically different among the surveyed sites, varying from 5 to 100 individual per km². Sites closer to rivers have a higher density, whereas those closer to roads and forest edges present a lower number of sikafas.

Furthermore, the researchers observed a major decline of the population in the last 20 to 30 years, reaching a decrease of more than 90% in, at least, one spot of the park. It is difficult to estimate the number of individuals of Coquerel’s sifaka living in the ANP since densities appeared to vary widely across the park. But a preliminary estimation of the total population size in the ANP made by the researchers indicates approximately 47,000 individuals. Habitat loss and poaching are probably the major factors that contribute to this species decline.

Read the full story here.

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About jensera

Jennifer Harrington is a Toronto-based illustrator, writer and graphic designer. She illustrated the best-selling children’s book series 'A Moose in a Maple Tree,' which includes the titles 'A Moose in a Maple Tree,' 'The Night Before a Canadian Christmas' and 'Canadian Jingle Bells.' She is also the owner of JSH Graphics, a boutique graphic design agency that specializes in print and web advertising. With her latest project, Eco Books 4 Kids, Jennifer has partnered with illustrator Michael Arnott to create a series of ecologically-themed ebooks for children. Her next book, 'Spirit Bear,' is due for release in the Summer of 2013. Jennifer offers two different school presentations for her 'Moose in a Maple Tree' collection, an illustration demonstration and a Christmas concert series, which can be booked at www.amooseinamapletree.com. She will be taking bookings for school readings of 'Spirit Bear' beginning in October 2013.

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