Lemurs five families and 14 genera inhabit Madagascar.

are nocturnal, insectivorous primates that belong to the sub-order Strephsiri.
They share this suborder with other animals such as lorises, bush babies, and pottos.
They are characterized by a long nose, a small body, and large eyes. Madagascar,
for centuries, has provided a haven for lemurs, which appear to exist only
because of Madagascar’s isolation and unique climate and landscape. It is
interesting to note that Madagascar lacks the kind of primates that are
dominant all over the world-chimps, monkeys, and gorillas-which belong to the
sub-order Haplorhini. Today, over 30 species across five families and 14 genera
inhabit Madagascar. Lemurs of the sub-order Strepsirrhines are reported to have
survived extinction in their early years on Madagascar because of their unique
solitary, insectivorous and nocturnal traits. The rest are reported to have
driven to extinction by more intelligent and adaptive primates. Modern-day lemurs
have spread themselves throughout the entirety of Madagascan ecosystems and
share many behavioral and social tendencies that are usually associated with
monkeys. These include feeding on fruits and plant matter, daytime activity,
and living in groups.

the threat of extinction has come back to haunt the lemurs. The lemur had been
enjoying Madagascar’s favorable climate, water, and abundant vegetation until
man first stepped on the island. Consistent with environmentalists’ belief that
the human species is the most significant danger to the planet, human activity
(hunting and deforestation) has led to the disappearance of an excess of 14
species of lemurs. The destruction of Madagascar’s lemur-friendly conditions
has been taking place since man arrived on the island 2,000 years ago. The
driving of lemurs toward extinction has had the most significant impact on the
largest species –today the biggest surviving species is the Indri which is
considerably smaller than long gone species. Today, all lemurs are classified
as endangered species. This report seeks to discuss the threat to the lemur and
the possible solutions that may be effective in saving the lemur from
extinction. This article will be based on the hypothesis that human activity is
central to the extinction threat to lemurs and that lack of sufficient
community involvement is the biggest challenge towards conversational efforts
for the lemur (Gorenflo et al., 2011).

Threats to the lemur

factors have contributed to the status of lemurs as one of the most endangered
species on the planet. These include the extensive destruction of their
habitat. Madagascar’s landscape, which initially included extensive forests, is
now slowly being taken over by rice plantations. Most inhabitants of Madagascar
are illiterate farmers whose primary source of livelihood is in cash crop
farming (Gorenflo et al., 2011). Madagascar’s farmers have over the years
adopted a “slash and burn”   mode of
agriculture to pave the way for arable land. The forestland, and in extension,
the home to the lemurs, has been widely cut down or set ablaze as farmers
demand more hectares for rice growing for the survival of their families (Desbureau & Brimont,2015).  Also, lemurs have been hunted in a poorly
regulated manner despite the fact that they are classified as endangered
species. The first inhabitants of Madagascar hunted large lemurs to the very
last of them. Even though the Madagascar government declared it illegal to kill
or keep as pets lemurs since the 1960s, they are still hunted where they are
not protected by local taboos. Moreover, the introduction of species not native
to Madagascar has helped deplete the island of many lemurs. These alien species
not only compete with the lemur for limited forest resources but like man, also
kill them. The lemur is now prey to the mongoose and the Indian civet, and even
domestic cats and dogs have turned into predators to lemur species. Also,
lemurs have been one of the biggest casualties of global warming. Inconsistent
rainfall patterns have limited the multiplication of lemur species. According
to recent research, rain is essential for the survival of baby lemurs, whose
teeth development is directly correlated to rainfall patterns. There is an active
link between tooth deterioration and rainfall level-simply put, lemurs, if
removed from their wet habitats or if exposed to drier conditions, can hardly
survive because their ability to feed is negatively impacted.

Conservational solutions
for the Lemur

in collaboration with the government of Madagascar, have made many attempts
geared towards preserving the existence of the lemur.  The government has created thousands of
forest reserves geared towards preservation of endangered native species. For
instance, the establishment of Makira protected area brought the total area of
land and marine zones under protection to one million hectares. The park and
reserve system-the System of Protected Areas of Madagascar have helped protect
species that were losing their habitats by reducing deforestation.  However, forest reserves and the park system
encounter financial shortage
(Gimenez, 2012).When Makira national park was
established in 2005, it seemed to present a solution to one of the most
critical problems to conservation – a sustainable source of funds that could be
relied on year after year. New York-based NGO Wildlife Conservation Society
launched the REDD+ model to serve as a protective and durable strategy for the
forest’s abundant carbon reserves. The sale of” carbon offset credits,” that
were supposed to fund the project have however been disappointing. To date,
carbon buyers are scarce, thus severely derailing efforts focused on reducing
deforestation. It was expected that vast financial resources would be
obtained-enough to support the community through profitable initiatives that
would discourage them from cutting down trees. Aside from funding, lemurs have
been observed to do poorly in captivity, to the extent of hardly reproducing- a
fact that could render reserves as regressive projects toward conservation of
lemurs (Gimenez, 2012).

the Madagascan government has passed several that prohibit invasion of forest
land.  These laws are the origin of
initiatives such as the System of Protected Areas of Madagascar (Gimenez, 2012).
However, there is a severe educational gap that hinders adherence to these
regulations. Madagascans, most of whom are illiterate, tend to obey traditional
customs and refuse to follow laws that appear to be bent towards denying them
the right to a source of living. Most of the locals feel that the
conservational laws are oppressive and tend to despise them. Moreover, failure
by the government to comprehensively fact in the community while coming up with
legislative agendas on conservation of wildlife makes them less useful (Desbureaux & Brimont, 2015).Conservational
laws have regardless, been beneficial as they have helped set the foundation
for many environmental programs.

conservational groups such as the Madagascar Fauna Group, UNESCO, and Lemur
Conservational Foundation have tried to factor in the most crucial challenge to
the conservation of lemurs- the alleviation of poverty (Rasolofoson
et al., 2015) .The PHE approach -Population Health and Environment approach is
geared towards a holistic perspective to the endangerment of lemurs. The
approach focuses not only on wildlife but on Madagascans as well. In summary,
if humans surrounding wildlife are happy and content, then they will see no need
of harming the ecosystem (Gorenflo et al., 2011). The human-wildlife conflict,
in this context, arises because of the government putting the needs of a
growing population ahead of that of its citizens. The population of Madagascar
alone is expected to double by 2060, an event that could spell doom for the
lemur. Therefore, the Lemur Conservation has teamed up with teamed with NGO
Marie Stopes Madagascar to introduce family planning to the natives. The
reduction in population growth to a level that the environment can sustain
would be beneficial for both man and animal. However, Madagascans are deeply
religious people who would hesitate to implement contraceptive methods. It
would also take a long time to create awareness of family planning to the
extent of having a significant impact on the country’s rapid population growth.
Also, conservational groups have introduced reforestation initiatives,
ecotourism development and environmental education programs to encourage the
involvement of the community in the conversation of the lemur, among other
wildlife species (McConnell, 2014).

the teaching of farmers on sustainable agriculture methods has been effective
in limiting rampant deforestation (McConnel, 2014). The introduction of
fuel-efficient stoves in the country has also had a small but influential
reduction impact on deforestation. However, community-based programs have the
challenge of depending on community goodwill, which is not a guarantee Rasolofoson
et al., 2015). For instance, Community Forest Management Units –where
communities manage their areas of forest in the hope that they will be
responsible enough to exploit forest resources with conservation in mind-have
primarily been a failure because deforestation did not reduce at all. The failure
of CFM units can be attributed to piecemeal law enforcement, lack of training
and complex regulatory framework (Gorenflo et al., 2011).

milestones have been achieved in the conservation of lemur species. These
include forest preservation, family planning efforts, and legislation in favor
of the lemur. Encroachment of forest land by farmers has nonetheless been a
huge stumbling block for environmentalists. Recommendations from this report
include the inclusion of local leaders and community personalities in coming up
with policies intended to save lemur species. Moreover, both the government and
non-governmental organizations must improve the educational system in
Madagascar and help the youth start projects that could help them make money
outside farming. Also, the government must implement stricter measures to curb
deforestation by including more forest land into government-supervised zones.



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