Lemurs are the Species most threatened with Extinction

A new study finds that the Madagascar lemur primate is the vertebrate species most threatened by extinction.

One reason for the threat is not only human encroachment on habitat but hunting for ‘bushmeat.’ That is, we are eating them to extinction.

Here is a video of these magical animals , who are our distant cousins:

If humans can’t be bothered to preserve species just because it is the right thing to do, they should do it for selfish reasons. Primate variety is important for our own well-being, since studies of more closely related species have implications for human health.

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7 Responses

  1. OMG they are so cute, how could such a beautiful thing ever go extinct. That’s a crime.

  2. I think we need to sart with humans then move on, as we all know that’s not working out well at this time.

    link to die-augenweide.de

    Just a thought, if we can’t save the human race we sure as hell can’t help others. Please take a chance and think about it.

  3. You might want to bring to your readers’ attention the role of economic sanctions in all this. Whats happening is not taking place in a political vacuum.

    In fact humans have lived alongside lemurs in Madagascar for more than a thousand years and never been a threat to their existence. The problem now is widespread hunger, with increasingly desperately people reduced to turning to anything they can get their hands on to feed their families, including animals that had often traditionally been fady (taboo).

    The sanctions were imposed after the “coup d’etat” of 2009. It’s not really clear if this event should really be called a coup at all: what happened was, in the wake of a mass protest movement, and a massacre of protestors by the Presidential guard, army officers called in by then-President Marc Ravalomanana (who was accused of stealing his reelection and privatizing the state’s assets to his personal friends, and trying to sell a substantial chunk of the country’s agricultural land in the west to a Korean transnational) to take temporary power to suppress the protests instead turned over power to the protest leader, Andry Rajoelina, the mayor of the capital Antananarivo. Whatever happened at the time, though, it has turned into a de facto military regime as Rajoelina shed many of his earlier leftist allies and relied increasingly on military officers for support, and for key ministers, and the battle between him and the now exiled former President has essentially turned into a covert power struggle between French and American economic and political interests, with a great deal of potential future mineral wealth at stake. (Among other things Madagascar is sitting on large deposits of rare earth and about 80% of its subsurface by some estimates contain tar sands.) As a result we’ve seen three years of stalled negotiations over the terms of endlessly-postponed elections.

    Economic sanctions against the “coup” government are part of this game but they have done almost nothing to harm the ruling coterie, while causing unimaginable suffering among an already struggling population. I was in Madagascar the summer before last and while many of my friends were ardent Ravalomanana supporters and detested the new government, I did not meet a single one who did not equally denounce the sanctions.

    If a threat to lemurs is the only thing that will wake the world up to the human suffering imposed on millions of innocent human beings who simply had the bad luck to be caught in the middle during a nasty little international power struggle, well, it’s better than their never waking up at all. At any rate I really do hope that information like this helps people realize just how horribly destructive these sanctions are, and that must be put to an end. Most of all I should emphasize: This is not a clear moral issue like sanctions against apartheid South Africa. Both sides in Madagascar have mass popular support, both sides have played fast and loose with the constitution, and, ironically, it’s the old government that the sanctions are meant to restore that is accused of massacring protestors, not the current one. Even more critical, aside from a few members of the political elite, virtually no one who supports the old government wishes to see the sanctions continue.

  4. Maybe a guest post from the above commenter (David Graeber)? BTW, Do you know of anybody doing for Africa and African affairs what you are doing for the Middle East and South Asia? I find this blog to be a valuable check on the often unreliable accounts and superficial analysis we get in the journalistic outlets. What I find valuable here is that we seem to get a deeper understanding of the problems that arise, not just because of the more rigorous social science or scholarly perspective, but because we seem to get a better idea of the significance of developments for the people of the area, as opposed to always seeing things through the lens of domestic political considerations in, e.g., US or Israel. And, I must say, knowledge of the languages of the areas is key. Keep up the good work!

    • thanks a million! that’s what I’m going for.

      Alas, don’t have Africa blog recs, but hoping other readers will weigh in.

    • Thanks, JPL, yes, I was trying to do exactly that: a sort of Juan Cole-style exposition of the situation in Madagascar. (I do speak the language, that helps.) Glad you think it worked.

      I do wish we could do something about the sanctions. People are dying.

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