Map_thumbnail_large_font

Lemur catta

Status_ne_offStatus_dd_offStatus_lc_offStatus_nt_offStatus_vu_offStatus_en_onStatus_cr_offStatus_ew_offStatus_ex_off

Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA MAMMALIA PRIMATES LEMURIDAE

Scientific Name: Lemur catta
Species Authority: Linnaeus, 1758
Common Name(s):
English Ring-tailed Lemur
French Maki Catta, Lémur Catta
Spanish Lemur Colianillado

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered A4cd ver 3.1
Year Published: 2014
Date Assessed: 2012-07-12
Assessor(s): Andriaholinirina, N., Baden, A., Blanco, M., Chikhi, L., Cooke, A., Davies, N., Dolch, R., Donati, G., Ganzhorn, J., Golden, C., Groeneveld, L.F., Hapke, A., Irwin, M., Johnson, S., Kappeler, P., King, T., Lewis, R., Louis, E.E., Markolf, M., Mass, V., Mittermeier, R.A., Nichols, R., Patel, E., Rabarivola, C.J., Raharivololona, B., Rajaobelina, S., Rakotoarisoa, G., Rakotomanga, B., Rakotonanahary, J., Rakotondrainibe, H., Rakotondratsimba, G., Rakotondratsimba, M., Rakotonirina, L., Ralainasolo, F.B., Ralison, J., Ramahaleo, T., Ranaivoarisoa, J.F., Randrianahaleo, S.I., Randrianambinina, B., Randrianarimanana, L., Randrianasolo, H., Randriatahina, G., Rasamimananana, H., Rasolofoharivelo, T., Rasoloharijaona, S., Ratelolahy, F., Ratsimbazafy, J., Ratsimbazafy, N., Razafindraibe, H., Razafindramanana, J., Rowe, N., Salmona, J., Seiler, M., Volampeno, S., Wright, P., Youssouf, J., Zaonarivelo, J. & Zaramody, A.
Reviewer(s): Schwitzer, C. & Molur, S.
Contributor(s): Gould, L.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Chiozza, F. & Clark, F.
Justification:

Despite the large range and flexibility of this species, population density is very low and is restricted to isolated fragments. There is a suspected population reduction of ≥50% in this species over a three generation period (36 years, estimating the generation length to be 12 years). This time period includes some time in both the past and the future. Causes of this reduction (which have not ceased) include continuing decline in area, extent and quality of habitat, and exploitation through unsustainable levels of hunting. Based on these premises, the species is listed as Endangered.

History:
2014 Endangered
2000 Vulnerable
1996 Vulnerable
1994 Vulnerable (Groombridge 1994)
1990 Vulnerable (IUCN 1990)
1990 Vulnerable (IUCN 1990)
1988 Insufficiently Known (IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre 1988)
1986 Insufficiently Known (IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre 1986)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: The Ring-tailed Lemur is found in the dry forests and bush of southern and southwestern Madagascar. The north-western boundary is north of the Mangoky River at Belo sur Mer or Mahababoky. The south-eastern limit ends at the divide between the western and eastern watersheds, which is aligned with the division between western dry and eastern humid vegetation types. All records from the Andohahela National Park are from the extreme western portion, at the ecotone between dry and humid forests. The north-eastern limit is more complex; the most north-easterly site is Ankafina, but this is from an animal collected in 1881 (see Goodman et al. 2006). A seemingly isolated population also occurs at altitudes up to 2,600 m in the mountains of Andringitra on the south-eastern plateau (Goodman and Langrand 1996, Yoder et al. 1999). Throughout the range of this species, its distribution is best described as patchy.
Countries:
Native:
Madagascar
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Despite L. catta’s flexibility, individuals are now largely restricted to completely isolated or relatively isolated fragments throughout their geographic range, and overall population densities are considered low (Sussman et al. 2003). The following lists population counts and/or densities at sites where L. catta populations have recently been counted. These sites represent only a fraction of the geographic range, yet give a ‘snapshot’ of the status of some of the L. catta populations in 2012 and illustrate that the overall population of this lemur is low, and that most populations occur in small fragmented forests (Gould unpublished report 2012).

In Berenty Reserve, the population density is 2.5 individuals/ha in the gallery forest, 5.0 individuals/ha at the tourist front, and 1.3 individuals/ha in the scrub and spiny forest (Jolly et al. 2002, 2006; Koyama et al. 2002; Pride 2005; Gould et al. 2011). A total number of 280 individuals in approximately 20 ha have been counted in Berenty Reserve (Razafindramanana 2011, Jolly et al. 2006).

In the Bealoka fragment, the population density is 1.67 individuals/ha (Razafindramanana 2011). A total number of 167 individuals in approximately 100 ha have been counted in this fragment (Razafindramanana 2011).

In Cap Ste. Marie, the population density is approximately 0.017 individuals/ha (Kelley 2011).

In Tsimanampetsotsa National Park, the population density is 0.10 individuals/ha. 2 groups inhabit a 195 ha area of the park (LaFleur 2012). 11 groups have been counted, though the total number of individuals is unknown (M. LaFleur pers. comm.).

In Beza Mahafaly Reserve, the population density is 0.23 individuals/ha. A population density of 1.3 individuals/ha has been recorded in Parcel 1 of the Reserve. In 2001, 104 individuals were counted in a 80 ha area (Parcel 1 of the Reserve) (Gould et al. 2003). In 2006, 225 individuals were counted in a 980 ha area (Sauther and Cuozzo 2008).

In Anja Community Reserve, the population density is 6.6 individuals/ha. In 2010, 225 individuals in a 34 ha area were counted (Cameron and Gould 2013, Gould and Gabriel 2013).

In Tsaranoro forest, the population density is 1.13 individuals/ha. In 2010, 60 individuals in a 53 ha area were counted (Cameron and Gould in press, Gould and Gabriel 2013).

In Andranobe village reserve, the population density is 1 individual/ha. In 2010, approximately 30 individuals were counted in a 30 ha area (L. Gould unpublished data).

In the Ambatotsirongorongo fragment, the population density is 1.5 individuals/ha. In 2010, approximately 50 individuals in a 30 ha area were counted (Razafindramanana 2011).

In the Petriky fragment, the population density is 0.004 individuals/ha. In 2012, 4 individuals were counted in a 920 ha area (N. Malone pers. comm.).

Population density information compiled by Lisa Gould. 

Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Lemur catta’s extreme ecological flexibility allows this species to colonize a diverse range of habitats in southern, south-west, and south-central Madagascar including gallery, littoral, and dry deciduous forests, spiny bush, brush and scrub, high-altitude ericoid bush and rocky outcrop vegetation (Sauther et al. 1999, Goodman et al. 2006, Gould 2006). Indeed, at the upper portion of its elevation range on Andringitra, the species occurs in a zone above the forest line and in a vast expanse of vertical rock, with up to 400-m tall talwegs, surrounded by ericoid savanna. It encounters the most extreme climatic conditions on the island from the hottest and driest to the coldest (Andringitra Massif). It has a varied diet, and does not seem to be constrained by available water sources (Goodman et al. 2006). This is the best-studied of Madagascar's lemurs; its biology and ecology have been summarized most recently by Jolly (2003) and Mittermeier et al. (2008).
Systems: Terrestrial

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is hunted for food and frequently kept as a pet.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Habitat loss and hunting are the greatest causes of concern. The Ring-tailed Lemur has a strong preference for gallery forests and for Euphorbia bush, but these habitats are already restricted in southern Madagascar and continue to diminish due to annual burning practices that help create new pasture for livestock. Subsequent over-grazing and the felling of trees for charcoal production further impact wild populations. This species is also hunted for food in certain areas and frequently kept as a pet.

Furthermore, due to more frequent droughts in the southern regions compared with past decades, this species is increasingly threatened. Hannah et al. (2008) predict that a mean temperature increase of 2.6°C will occur in southern Madagascar in this century, and that this already arid region will become even drier, which will have important and largely negative biological consequences for flora and fauna inhabiting this geographic area (Gould unpublished report 2012).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species is listed on Appendix I of CITES. It is found in a number of protected areas including up to six national parks (Andohahela, Andringitra, Isalo, Tsimanampetsotsa, Zombitse, Vohibasia, and possibly in the southern parts of Kirindy Mitea), three special reserves (Beza Mahafaly, Kalambatritra and southern Pic d'Ivohibe), and the Berenty Private Reserve. It has also been reported recently from the unprotected forests of Ankoba, Ankodida, Anjatsikolo, Bereny, Mahazoarivo, Masiabiby, and Mikea (Mittermeier et al. 2008, and references therein). Many of the best remaining forest patches within the range of L. catta, and where it appears to occur at the highest densities, are found on sacred lands (Sussman et al. 2003). A successful conservation project at the Anja Community Reserve forest fragment has retained high densities of 6.6 individuals/ha (Cameron and Gould 2013).

As of 2009, there were an estimated 2,500 Ring-tailed Lemurs in zoos around the world, in addition to many more in smaller roadside collections, laboratories, and the pet trade. The species is not only the most common lemur in captivity, but indeed the most common of all captive primates (ISIS 2009, I.J. Porton pers. comm.).

Citation: Andriaholinirina, N., Baden, A., Blanco, M., Chikhi, L., Cooke, A., Davies, N., Dolch, R., Donati, G., Ganzhorn, J., Golden, C., Groeneveld, L.F., Hapke, A., Irwin, M., Johnson, S., Kappeler, P., King, T., Lewis, R., Louis, E.E., Markolf, M., Mass, V., Mittermeier, R.A., Nichols, R., Patel, E., Rabarivola, C.J., Raharivololona, B., Rajaobelina, S., Rakotoarisoa, G., Rakotomanga, B., Rakotonanahary, J., Rakotondrainibe, H., Rakotondratsimba, G., Rakotondratsimba, M., Rakotonirina, L., Ralainasolo, F.B., Ralison, J., Ramahaleo, T., Ranaivoarisoa, J.F., Randrianahaleo, S.I., Randrianambinina, B., Randrianarimanana, L., Randrianasolo, H., Randriatahina, G., Rasamimananana, H., Rasolofoharivelo, T., Rasoloharijaona, S., Ratelolahy, F., Ratsimbazafy, J., Ratsimbazafy, N., Razafindraibe, H., Razafindramanana, J., Rowe, N., Salmona, J., Seiler, M., Volampeno, S., Wright, P., Youssouf, J., Zaonarivelo, J. & Zaramody, A. 2014. Lemur catta. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 22 August 2014.
Disclaimer: To make use of this information, please check the <Terms of Use>.
Feedback: If you see any errors or have any questions or suggestions on what is shown on this page, please fill in the feedback form so that we can correct or extend the information provided