(AFP) – Oct 5, 2009
NAIROBI — One of the world's most endangered primates, the greater bamboo lemur, a species endemic to Madagascar, has been found in an area where it was feared extinct, environmental organisations said Monday.
The species, "prolemur simus", has been found at 11 sites in a swathe of forest in the east of the island.
This finding opens "a new chapter for the species and for the places we can protect it by preserving the forest as the main problem is loss of habitat," Mahaoly Ravaloharimanitra, a research assistant at the Aspinall Foundation, told AFP.
Illegal logging and slash-and-burn agriculture are among the practices that threaten the survival of this species. Primate specialists say that while this type of lemur was once found throughout this Indian Ocean island, now no more than 300 individuals are still in existence.
As its common name suggests, prolemur simus feeds mainly on bamboo, which limits its habitat options.
"They are very secretive, which makes it difficult to approach them and protect them. Most of the time we don't see the animal, just traces of food or droppings," Tovanahary Rasolofoharivelo from Conservation International told AFP.
The greater bamboo lemur was thought to be extinct until it was rediscovered in the 1980s, the two associations said in a statement.
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