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The lemur : natural capital, treasure of the forest!

Madagascar is home to more than 250,000 species of which 70% are endemic.

Seven species of baobabs exist on the island, we also have 294 species of birds of which 107 are endemic and a quarter of the species of primates in the world do not exist anywhere else which represents about 80% of endemism. This is certainly a criterion that makes Madagascar a recommended tourist destination. In particular, the lemurs of Madagascar have always been the animal species associated with Madagascar, which attract many tourists. Tourism represents 7% of Madagascar's GDP.  Repercussions will certainly be felt if the 31% of lemur species in Madagascar, currently threatened with extinction, were to disappear. 

The causes of this threat: loss of their habitat (forests), trafficking, poaching, climate change ... However, it is undeniable, lemurs are a tourist attraction, an engine of economic growth, a cultural emblem, an agent of restoration of forests ... in short, a natural capital essential to the development of Madagascar. In early October, on the sidelines of the launch of a new USAID-funded project led by WWF, "Anti-corruption and wildlife trafficking," the Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development shared that "many lemurs have been consumed between 2020 and 2021, and many lemurs can be found in international parks and zoos, particularly in Europe and the United States." According to her, this trend could mean that there will be more lemurs abroad than in Madagascar, and "thus the future of ecotourism is threatened."

Meanwhile, in the Menabe region, research by the German Primate Center  confirms the alarming decline of the lemur population in the Menabe Antimena protected area. 3 species, among others, Microcebus berthae, Cheirogaleus medius and Lepilemur ruficaudatus are indeed in decline according to the figures. One of the symbols, even product of attraction of this protected area is threatened.  "According to the observations carried out on the Cheirogaleus medius, on a monitoring surface of 25 hectares, we could currently count only 2 to 5 individuals of this species against 20 to 30 individuals 10 years ago" confirms Dr. Rasoloarison Rodin, scientific coordinator of German Primate Center . Beyond its endemism and its cultural and environmental value, the lemur plays an economic role intrinsically linked to tourism and the sectors that depend on it, to scientific research, it is an emblem of Madagascar! This month of October, let's celebrate lemurs under the theme: "Lemurs, treasure of the forest, not to be consumed or domesticated".