Avahi cleesei


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Avahi cleesei
Species Authority: Thalmann & Geissmann, 2005
Common Name/s:
English Bemaraha Woolly Lemur, John Cleese's Avahi

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered B1ab(i,ii,iii) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor/s: Thalmann, U., Geissmann, T. & Hoffmann, M.
Reviewer/s: Mittermeier, R.A. & Rylands, A.B. (Primate Red List Authority)
Listed as Endangered as the species has a distribution range of less than 5,000 km², it currently occurs at effectively a single location, and there is continuing decline in the area and quality of habitat within the range of the species.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species is known only from the Tsingy de Bemaraha region of western Madagascar, north of the Manambolo River (Thalmann and Geissman 2005). The northern limit of its range is unclear and there is no evidence of its occurrence between the Sambao and Mahavavy Rivers or between the Mahavavy and Betsiboka Rivers (Thalmann and Geissmann 2005). Currently, it is known only from within Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park, where it has been sighted in two localities, in the forest of Ankindrodro (19°08′S, 44°49′E;) and the type locality (18°59′S, 44°45′E), a forest 3 – 4 km east-northeast of the village of Ambalarano at the base of the western Tsingy precipice (Thalmann and Geissmann 2006). The species was previously outside the reserve’s boundaries in 1994, in the heavily disturbed forest in the surroundings of the village of Ankinajao (19°03′S, 44°47′E; Thalmann and Geissmann 2000). However, the forest was completely destroyed since these sightings at Ankinajao, and no woolly lemurs have been found there since 2003 (Thalmann and Geissmann 2006).
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: This species was originally discovered in 1990 and named in 2005. Thalmann and Geissmann (2000) describe Avahi as being generally rare in the Bemaraha region, where the forests it inhabits tend to have a high proportion of evergreen trees. Ironically, local population densities appear to correlate negatively with levels of habitat disturbance, meaning that higher population densities seem to be found in disturbed habitats.
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Avahi cleesei occurs in subhumid, dry deciduous forests close to the western Tsingy precipices, in the larger Tsingy crevasses or gorges, and forests along small seasonal rivulets and seasonal swamps close to the Bemaraha massif (Thalmann and Geissmann 2006).
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Thalman and Geissmann (2005, 2006) note that the disturbed forest close to the village of Ankinajao (outside the park), which supported a substantial number of individuals in 1994, had been cut completely by 2003. The subhumid forest at the base of the escarpment of the Tsingy de Bemaraha is under continuous pressure from bush fires that reduce it in many places every year–in some places to only a few meters in width. Such subhumid forests are the only habitat in which Avahi cleesei is known to occur so far.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Listed on CITES Appendix I. it is known to occur in Tsingy de Bemeraha National Park, a World Heritage Site. Given the extremely small known range of Cleese’s Woolly Lemur, surveys are obviously urgently needed to find additional populations.
Citation: Thalmann, U., Geissmann, T. & Hoffmann, M. 2008. Avahi cleesei. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. <>. Downloaded on 21 April 2014.
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