The red-ruffed lemur (Varecia rubra) is listed as «critically endangered» by the IUCN and is also part of the 25 world’s most endangered primates. Its geographical range is restricted to northeastern Madagascar, in the primary forests of Masoala peninsula and Antongil Bay. Highly threatened by deforestation, habitat fragmentation and poaching, its wild population is plummeting.
The European Breeding Program (EEP) for red-ruffed lemurs supports the creation of a breeding program in Madagascar (the species is being underrepresented in captivity) in order to produce individuals that may be introduced in the wild as part of a wild stock reinforcement program.
In this context, La Palmyre Zoo has given to the EEP a young male born in its facilities in 2014. He was transferred in August 2014 to the Malagasy park of Nosy Be along with a female born in Dublin Zoo.
Meanwhile, La Palmyre Zoo has started to fund the conservation program including preliminary studies regarding the likely future site of release: it may be the Farankaraina forest located in the heart of Antongil Bay. The area covers 1,540 hectares of primary forest among which 150 are now protected. These surveys should assess the density and the distribution of lemurs and other species living on site, the structure and quality of the habitat, the food resources availability…
The aims of the program are:
- to improve the management of the captive population of red-ruffed lemurs in Europe (that gathers more than 350 individuals) by creating an ex situ program in Madagascar;
- to long-term conserve one of the most endangered primate in the world by strengthening its wild numbers.
Partners of the project are the EEP of the red-ruffed lemur and the GERP ((Groupe d’Etude et de Recherche sur les Primates de Madagascar).
Photo credit: © F. Perroux/Zoo de La Palmyre
 International Union for Conservation of Nature