Thursday, December 15, 2016


We are going to Madagascar this week to visit with the Alaotra, or Bamboo Lemur, which is critically endangered due to its required, specialized environment.

Photo credit:

The Alaotra Lemur, also known as the Alaotran Gentle Lemur, lives in a very small region of Madagascar, specifically in the reed beds around Lac Alaotra, Madagascar’s largest lake. Although there are other species of bamboo lemurs, the Alaotran Lemur is the only lemur that is adapted to living in wetlands, specifically papyrus reeds, which are also their main food source.

Photo credit: Phillip Harris

They grow to a length of about sixteen inches with tails of about the same length and weigh approximately three pounds. They have a dense wooly fur that is grayish in color with a reddish-brown patch of fur on their heads. The population of the Alaotra Lemur is declining due to habitat destruction. The area around the lake is being used for rice production by humans, and much of that land has been cleared for rice paddies.

In 2003 Lac Alaotra was deemed a protected area by the government of Madagascar. This protection is aimed at ensuring conservation of the lake, marshes, and the surrounding watershed, which are critical to the survival of the Alaotra Lemur.

Photo credit:  via The Telegraph

It is important to understand that the flora and fauna of Madagascar are unique due to the fact that the island has been geographically isolated. It is also one of poorest countries on the planet and its inhabitants have used the island’s resources to the detriment of themselves and the natural wildlife that lives there. Obviously, much of the native wildlife has been impacted, including the Alaotra Lemur. Lemurs are endemic to Madagascar along with many species of amphibians and reptiles. This makes Madagascar a ‘hotspot’ of biodiversity and it is like a petri dish in that we can see exactly what our impact has on their environment. “For Madagascar, forest degradation was reported to have reached up to 90% of its natural forests, leaving only 10%–15% in near natural conditions as early as the end of the 1980s.” (Green, G.; Sussman, R. Deforestation history of the eastern rain forests of Madagascar from satellite images. Science 1990, 248, 212–215. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed])

I am including a video that is a bit longer than many I have posted before. I thought this was an important video to share. It is narrated by natives of Madagascar and it shows you their efforts to conserve the area around Lac Alaotra through education of the local people, especially children.

Thank you so much for visiting and for taking the time to learn about this critically endangered lemur. Please share and feel free to leave a comment, and don’t forget to return next week.

To learn more about the critically endangered Alaotra Gentle Lemur, visit the following sites:

Jeanne E. Rogers, Award Winning Author
The Sword of Demelza, The Gift of Sunderland, and
One Hot Mess, A Child’s Environmental Fable
Where Endangered Animals Heroes Roam the Pages!

To learn more about me, visit my ‘author page’ on Amazon:

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