Business, Economics and Jobs

Extinction Risk for Lemurs Greater Than Previously Thought


(Varecia variegata) Black-and-white ruffed lemur, Class: Mammalia (mammal), species, animal, CI Marine RAP (Rapid Assessment Program) expedition to northeast Madagascar, March 2006


Sterling Zumbrunn

A new survey shows lemurs are far more threatened than previously thought.

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A group of specialists is in Madagascar — the only place where lemurs are found in the wild — to systematically assess the animals and decide where they sit on the Red List of Threatened Species.

More than 90 percent of the 103 species should be on the Red List, they say.

The assessment, conducted by the Primate Specialist Group of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), concludes that 23 lemurs qualify as 'critically endangered' — the highest class of threat.

Some species are down to less than two dozen animals. Host Lisa Mullins talks with Russ Mittermeier, of Conservation International, who's in Madagascar.