Life’s A Zoo with Mallory Clark webisode five: Madagascar Ring Tailed Lemur
Today Mallory Clark is at ZooWorld in Panama City Beach Fl. with one of their Conservation Show stars, Simon. Simon is a young; and very food motivated Ring-Tailed Lemur. He is one of 10 species belonging to the family of Lemuridae, or true lemurs. There are, however, 21 other species of lemur in four separate families. Interestingly enough, all lemurs are found only on the island of Madagascar. The ring-tailed lemur inhabits forests and dry scrub areas of southern and southwestern parts of Madagascar. Unlike most lemurs, which mainly stay in trees, this species spends a good deal of time running around on the ground and huddled in groups called, “lemur balls” where they spend the day grooming and sunbathing. They live in mixed-sex social groups of up to twenty individuals, with the females dominating over the males. Because they are such social animals, their physical characteristics have adapted to this lifestyle. For example, the lower canines and incisors jut outward, almost perpendicular to the others, and are used like a comb to groom their neighbors. Also, both sexes have dark scent glands around each wrist to communicate and claim territories.
Although the ring tailed lemur is not the most threatened primate on Madagascar, their popularity in zoos makes them an ideal, “flagship species” for conservation. Due to deforestation, pollution, hunting, and human encroachment in general; other endemic populations are depleting exponentially. Madagascar is often considered the single highest priority conservation area on Earth. The only other island with more endemic species is Australia, which is 13 times the size of Madagascar.
List of Endangered Endemic Species
•Golden Bamboo Lemur (Hapalemur aureus). (Endemic to Madagascar.)
•Aquatic Tenrec (Limnogale mergulus). (Endemic to Madagascar.)