Species: Silky sifaka (Propithecus candidus)
Status: Critically Endangered (CR)
Interesting Fact: This species is nicknamed ‘angel of the forest’ due to its creamy white fur
The silky sifaka is one of a number of unique primate species found only in Madagascar. Living in tropical, moist forests, this species spends most of the day either feeding on seeds, fruits and leaves, or resting in the forest canopy. The silky sifaka is a social species, living in groups of up to nine individuals which are led by the female. The home range of a group can be up to 44 hectares and they travel around 700 metres a day in search of food. The tiny young are born in June or July and members of the group, not just the mother, have been observed caring for the young, demonstrating the strong bonds that exist within silky sifaka communities.
With an estimated 250 mature individuals remaining in the wild, the silky sifaka is one of the three rarest lemurs in all of Madagascar. Habitat destruction and hunting are thought to be the primary threats to this species. Unfortunately, there is no taboo existing with local people against hunting the silky sifaka as there is against hunting other sifaka species. This species currently exists in a number of protected forests in Madagascar with future conservation recommendations including the protection of more of this unique species habitat.
Find out more about the silky sifaka in the stunning documentary, Trouble in Lemur Land, which explores the impact of illegal rosewood logging on the species.
Rebecca Moran, ARKive Species Text Author