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Hapalemur alaotrensis

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA MAMMALIA PRIMATES LEMURIDAE

Scientific Name: Hapalemur alaotrensis
Species Authority: Rumpler, 1975
Common Name/s:
English Alaotran Gentle Lemur, Alaotra Reed Lemur, Lac Alaotra Bamboo Lemur, Lake Alaotra Gentle Lemur
Synonym/s:
Hapalemur griseus (Rumpler, 1975) subspecies alaotrensis
Taxonomic Notes: Cytogenetic and molecular data do not distinguish H. alatorensis from H. griseus griseus (Fausser et al. 2002, Pastorini et al. 2002), although the former is differentiated based on its larger size (Rabarivola et al. 2007).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered B1ab(iii,v) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor/s: Andrainarivo, C., Andriaholinirina, V.N., Feistner, A., Felix, T., Ganzhorn, J., Garbutt, N., Golden, C., Konstant, B., Louis Jr., E., Meyers, D., Mittermeier, R.A., Perieras, A., Princee, F., Rabarivola, J.C., Rakotosamimanana, B., Rasamimanana, H., Ratsimbazafy, J., Raveloarinoro, G., Razafimanantsoa, A., Rumpler, Y., Schwitzer, C., Thalmann, U., Wilmé, L. & Wright, P.
Reviewer/s: Mittermeier, R.A. & Rylands, A.B. (Primate Red List Authority)
Justification:
Listed as Critically Endangered as the range of the species approximates 100 km² (given the species' very specific habitat requirements), the entire population exists at a single location, and there is continuing decline in the area of occupancy and habitat of the species due to the burning of the marsh habitat as well as ongoing hunting of the population.
History:
2000 Critically Endangered
1996 Critically Endangered
1994 Endangered (Groombridge 1994)
1990 Endangered (IUCN 1990)
1990 Endangered (IUCN 1990)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species is known only from the papyrus and reed beds surrounding Lac Alaotra, Madagascar?s largest lake located in the eastern rain forest region (Mutschler and Feistner 1995). The species occurs as two subpopulations, a small one in the northern part of the lake around the Belempona Peninsula and a larger one in the adjoining marshlands along the lake?s southwestern shores bounded by the villages of Anororo, Andreba and Andilana-Sud (Mutschler et al. 2001). Its entire range appears to be rather less than 200 km² and it occurs only up to elevations of 750 m.
Countries:
Native:
Madagascar
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The most recent population estimates for H. alaotrensis put numbers (using encounter rate) at about 2,500 individuals in 2002 (Ralainasolo 2004), representing a decline of more than 50% in less than a decade. A survey in 2004 using distance sampling resulted in a population estimate of around 5,000 animals (J. Ratsimbazafy pers. comm.). In 1994, the population was estimated at 7,500-11,000 also based on encounter rate. The northerly population has not been censused, but probably has also been significantly reduced.
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: In its unique marshland habitat (this is the only primate to live in marsh habitat) this lemur feeds principally on four food items: the pithy stems of papyrus (Cyperus madagascariensis), tender shoots of reeds (Phragmites communis), and two types of grasses (Echinocochla crusgalli and Leersia hexandra) (Mutschler 1999). Active mainly during daylight hours, H. alaotrensis also exhibits significant nocturnal activity. They live in family groups of up to a dozen members and defend territories ranging in size from less than one hectare to eight hectares. Young are born from September through February and twins are common (Mittermeier et al. 2008, and references therein).
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Conversion of marsh habitat to rice fields has been the most severe threat to the survival of this species, although the remaining marsh habitats are difficult to convert due to regular flooding. However, a major drainage project would pose a major threat if this were realized in the region. Burning of the remaining marshlands takes place to catch fish and to graze cattle. The resulting increase in aquatic plants is choking fishing areas and driving further burning and may also limit marsh regeneration after flooding.

Hunting for food and capture for pets also have reduced its numbers through the years. A variety of hunting and trapping methods are employed by local people. Direct pursuit by dogs is the most common, but they may also be captured by using a harpoon, a snare, a stick to knock them out or into the water, or by burning their reed bed habitat, causing them to flee into the hands of waiting hunters. More than 1000 lemurs have been hunted annually in some years (Mutschler et al. 2001).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species is listed on Appendix I of CITES. Lac Alaotra was declared a Ramsar site in 2003, and covers the entire watershed, 722,5000 ha, with the aim of conserving biodiversity and the wetland ecosystem. Plans at present are to create a strict conservation area of close to 8,000 ha and an adjacent 5,200-ha zone where controlled activities (e.g., fishing) are permitted. Public awareness campaigns have focused on the benefits of habitat conservation to the half million or more people who live by the lake erosion control, the biological filtering of agricultural pollutants, flood prevention. A regional fishing convention bans lemur hunting and marsh burning. There is a small, but self-sustaining, captive population in a number of European zoos.
Citation: Andrainarivo, C., Andriaholinirina, V.N., Feistner, A., Felix, T., Ganzhorn, J., Garbutt, N., Golden, C., Konstant, B., Louis Jr., E., Meyers, D., Mittermeier, R.A., Perieras, A., Princee, F., Rabarivola, J.C., Rakotosamimanana, B., Rasamimanana, H., Ratsimbazafy, J., Raveloarinoro, G., Razafimanantsoa, A., Rumpler, Y., Schwitzer, C., Thalmann, U., Wilmé, L. & Wright, P. 2008. Hapalemur alaotrensis. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 16 April 2014.
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