A captive-born black-and-white ruffed lemur female has successfully bred with a wild male for the first time – 13 years after captive-born black-and-white ruffed lemurs were first released into the wild.
Described as a milestone for lemur conservation, the Madagascar Fauna Group (MFG) released the female lemur into the Betampona Natural Reserve, eastern Madagascar, resulting in a pairing that produced twins last October.
A Critically Endangered species
The black-and-white ruffed lemur is listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List. It is threatened by deforestation, including from slash-and-burn agriculture, logging and mining. It tends to be the first lemur to disappear when human activity encroaches upon its habitat.
Its large size and daytime activity pattern also makes the black-and-white ruffed lemur an attractive hunting target, and it is among the most heavily hunted of all Madagascar’s lemurs.
Surrounded by rice fields, Betampona Natural Reserve’s lemur population is isolated from other groups. Conservationists hope that by introducing captive-born lemurs into the wild, they can retain genetically healthy populations.
“Without this project, the Betampona population of ruffed lemurs was calculated to become extinct from the negative consequences of inbreeding within 100 years or less,” explains MFG chief of staff, Dr. Eva Sargent.
Watch a video of black-and-white ruffed lemurs playing in trees on ARKive.
To read more about this story, see the Mongabay.com article.
Alex Royan, ARKive Species Text Author