The Red-ruffed Lemur (Varecia rubra) is listed as «Critically Endangered» by the IUCN*. 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 donated to the EEP a young male Red-ruffed Lemur born in its facilities in 2014. He was transferred in August 2014 to a Malagasy park.
The conservation program also translocates wild Red-ruffed Lemurs severely threatened by the destruction of their habitat in the short-term. They have started in 2018 in the Farankaraina Forest located in the heart of Antongil Bay. The area covers 1,540 hectares of primary forest among which 150 are now fully protected and should host the future reintroductions as well.
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) thanks to the creation of the 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 credits: © F. Perroux/Zoo de La Palmyre, GERP.
*International Union for Conservation of Nature