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Propithecus edwardsi

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA MAMMALIA PRIMATES INDRIIDAE

Scientific Name: Propithecus edwardsi
Species Authority: A. Grandidier, 1871
Common Name(s):
English Milne-edward's Sifaka, Milne-edwards’s Simpona
Synonym(s):
Propithecus diadema subspecies edwardsi A. Grandidier, 1871
Propithecus holomelas Günther, 1875
Taxonomic Notes: Formerly considered a subspecies of P. diadema (e.g., Groves 1993), but elevated to full species status by Groves (2001) and Mayor et al. (2004), and supported by Groves and Helgen (2007). The latter authors provisionally raised the form P. holomelas to species level, but it may represent nothing more than an extreme melanistic morph of P. edwardsi. It is here provisionally retained as a synonym of P. edwardsi, pending further study.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered A2cd+3cd+4cd ver 3.1
Year Published: 2014
Date Assessed: 2012-07-11
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., 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.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Chiozza, F. & Clark, F.
Justification:

Listed as Endangered as the species is suspected to have undergone a population decline of ≥50% over a period of 45 years (three generations), due primarily to observed and inferred continuing decline in area, extent and quality of habitat from slash-and-burn agriculture and logging, even within protected areas, representing principle threats, and exploitation through unsustainable levels of hunting. These causes have not ceased, and will to a large extent not be easily reversible. A future population reduction of ≥50% over a 45 year period is also suspected due to the same causes. Assuming population reductions to continue, this species may need to be uplisted to Critically Endangered in the near future.  

History:
2000 Endangered
1996 Endangered
1990 Endangered (IUCN 1990)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:

This species is endemic to Madagascar where it is found in the east between the Mangoro and Onive Rivers and the Manampatrana River and Andringitra National Park. No P. edwardsi have been seen in Ivohibe in the past ten years. Population densities are lower at the southern tip of its range than the densities seen in Ranomafana, although it occurs throughout the corridor between Ranomafana and Andringitra (Irwin et al. 2005). It ranges from 600-1,600 m. The estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) is less than 5,170 km².

Countries:
Native:
Madagascar
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Population density estimates are low at 4.73 individuals/km² in Ranomafana National Park (RNP). The estimated population size of P. edwardsi in RNP is 1,561 individuals. These data are based on over 100 transect surveys from 2004 to 2009 by Johnson, S., Ratelolahy, F., Wright, P., and Herrera, J. Using these density estimates extrapolated to the rest of its geographic range (the territory size of a group is 50 hectare for a group of 3-9 individuals), there exist less than 10,000 in the wild (Wright et al. 2012). Propithecus edwardsi has not been observed in the northern part of its range from the northern border of Ranomafana National Park to the Onive River according to transects by Shawn Lehman and others. This means a 20% decrease in its range within the past five years due to both slash and burn agriculture and heavy hunting (Lehman et al. 2006).

Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It is found in primary and slightly degraded rainforest forests at middle to high elevations. The typical group size is from three to nine individuals, groups range over areas of 50 ha. The farthest dispersal distance observed by an individual has been eight km (a male) (King et al. 2011, Morelli et al. 2009). Infants typically are born in June and July every other year, after six months of gestation. High infant and adult mortalities are also noted in this species. Predation, especially by the fossa (Cryptoprocta ferox), is a significant cause of mortality, but some infant losses also are attributable to infanticidal male sifakas. Infant mortality has been calculated at almost 50% before the age of one year, but it is particularly high in exploited forests (Mittermeier et al. 2008, and references therein). Long-term studies have shown that these sifakas are long-lived (P. edwardsi live to be over 30 years old in the wild in Ranomafana National Park). They reproduce slowly and older females continue to give birth until death (Wright et al. 2008). Individuals are poor dispersers across fragmented habitats (Pochron et al. 2004).

Systems: Terrestrial

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade:

Hunting is a problem, with shotguns, blowguns and slingshots all used as weapons to bring individuals down. 

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Habitat destruction due to slash-and-burn agriculture and logging, even within protected areas, represents the principal threat to this species’ survival. Habitat loss is also taking place due to gold mining outside of the Ranomafana on the western boundary, and illegal rum production is a threat in the Fandriana region. These are also large-bodied lemurs, and a favoured prey item among hunters, with hunting taking place by means of slingshots, blowguns and firearms, especially north of Ranomafana, as local taboos operate in the southern parts of the range.

Recently, Dunham et al. (2008) performed a demographic study of Propithecus edwardsi, to evaluate the impact of deforestation, hunting, and El Niño on its population. Over 18 years of demographic data, including survival and fecundity rates were used to parameterize a stochastic population model structured with three stage classes (yearlings, juveniles, and adults). Results demonstrate that hunting and deforestation are the most significant threats to the population.

Further, fragmentation and forest destruction can force large ranging predators, such as the fossa, to return more often to kill lemurs, and this can cause further decline in population of sifakas (Irwin et al. 2009). Habitat disturbance can also increase parasitism which may impact on lemur health and decrease populations (Wright et al. 2009). Climate change may also affect this species, since there is more infant mortality and less fecundity in ENSO years, and with climate change it is predicted that cyclones and drought will increase in Madagascar (Wright 2006).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species is listed on Appendix I of CITES. Milne-Edwards’ sifaka is known to occur in two national parks (Andringitra and Ranomafana). Half of the total estimated population is thought to be found in Ranomafana National Park (P. C. Wright pers. comm.). Its suggested presence in Andohahela National Park (O’Connor 1967, O'Connor et al. 1986) has not been verified by subsequent field surveys (Feistner and Schmid 1999). Populations have also been identified in unprotected forests north of Ranomafana, including those nearby the villages of Kirisiasy, Marofotsy, Fandriana and Marolambo. Marofotsy should be immediately included within the existing Ranomafana National Park. A large number of forest reserves have been established in eastern Fianarantsoa Province, some of which may still harbour populations of P. edwardsi, and these could be included within a conservation corridor linking Ranomafana and Andringitra National Parks (Mittermeier et al. 2008). As of 2010, no animals are known to be held in captive breeding programmes (I.J. Porton pers. comm.). Research into sifaka captivity is needed to establish ex situ conservation for this species. 


Bibliography [top]

Dunham, A. E., Erhart, E. M., Overdorff, D. J. and Wright, P. C. 2008. Evaluating effects of deforestation, hunting, and El Nino events on a threatened lemur. Biological Conservation 141: 287-297.

Feistner, A.T.C. and Schmid, J. 1999. Lemurs of the Réserve Naturelle Intégrale d’Andohahela, Madagascar. Fieldiana Zoology 94: 269-284.

Groves, C. P. 1993. Primates. In: D. E. Wilson and D. A. Reeder (eds), Mammal Species of The World, Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC, USA.

Groves, C. P. 2001. Primate taxonomy. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC, USA.

Groves, C. P. and Helgen, K. M. 2007. Craniodental Characters in the Taxonomy of Propithecus. International Journal of Primatology 28: 1363-1383.

Irwin, M. T., Johnson, S. E. and Wright, P. C. 2005. The state of lemur conservation in Southeastern Madagascar: Population and habitat assessments for diurnal lemurs using surveys, satellite imagery and GIS. Oryx 39: 204–218.

Irwin, M.T., Raharison, J.L., and Wright, P.C. 2009. Spatial and temporal variability in predation on rainforest primates: do forest fragmentation and predation act synergistically? Animal Conservation 12: 220-230.

IUCN. 2014. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.1. Available at: www.iucnredlist.org. (Accessed: 12 June 2014).

King SJ, Morelli TL, Arrigo-Nelson S, Ratelolahy FJ, Godfrey LR, Wyatt J, Tecot S, Jernvall J, Wright PC. 2011. Morphometrics and pattern of growth in wild sifakas (Propithecus edwardsi) at Ranomafana National Park, Madagascar. American Journal of Primatology 73: 155-172.

Lehman SM, Ratsimbazafy J, Rajaonson A, Day S. 2006. Decline of Propithecus diadema edwardsi and Varecia variegata variegata (Primates: Lemuridae) in south-east Madagascar. . Oryx 40: 108–111.

Mayor, M. I., Sommer, J. A., Houck, M. L., Zaonarivelo, J. R., Wright, P. C., Ingram, C., Engel, S. R. and Louis, E. E. 2004. Specific status of Propithecus spp. International Journal of Primatology 25: 875-900.

Mittermeier, R., Louis, E., Hawkins, F., Langrand, O., Ganzhorn, J., Konstant, W., Rasoloarison, R., Rajaobelina, S. and Richardson, M. 2008. Lemurs of Madagascar, 3rd edition. Conservation International.

Morelli TL, King SJ, Pochron ST, Wright PC. 2009. The rules of disengagement: takeovers, infanticide, and dispersal in a rainforest lemur, Propithecus edwardsi. Behaviour 146: 499–523.

O'Connor, S.M. 1987. The Effects of Human Impact on Vegetation and the Consequences to Primates in two Riverine Forests, Southern Madagascar. Unpublished Ph.D. thesis, University of Cambridge.

O’Connor, S., Pidgeon, M. and Randria, Z. 1986. Conservation program for the Andohahela Reserve, Madagascar. Primate Conservation: 48-52.

Pochron, S. T., Tucker, W. T. and Wright, P. C. 2004. Demography, life history, and social structure in Propithecus diadema edwardsi from 1986–2000 in Ranomafana National Park, Madagascar. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 125: 61–72.

Wright, P.C. 2006. Considering climate change effects in lemur ecology and conservation. In: M. Sauther and L. Gould (eds), Lemur Ecology , pp. 385-401. New York: Springer Press.

Wright, P.C., Arrigo-Nelson, S.J., Hogg, K.L., Bannon, B., Morelli, T.L., Wyatt, J., Harivelo, A.L., Ratelolahy, F. 2009. Habitat disturbance and seasonal fluctuations of lemur parasites in the rain forest of Ranomafana National Park, Madagascar. In: C. Chapman and M. Huffman (eds), Primates and their Parasites , pp. 313-323. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Wright, P.C., Erhart, E.M., Tecot, S.R., Baden, A.L., Arrigo-Nelson, S., Morelli, T.L., Deppe, A., Blanco, M., Atsalis, S., Johnson, S.E., Ratelolahy, F., Tan, C. L. M., Zohdy, S., King, S.J. 2012. Long-term lemur research at Centre ValBio, Ranomafana National Park, Madagascar. In: P.M. Kappeler and D.P. Watts (eds), Long-Term Field Studies of Primates, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg, Berlin.

Wright, P.C., King, S.J., Baden, A., and Jernvall, J. 2008. Aging in wild female lemurs: Sustained fertility with increased infant mortality. In: S. Atsalis and S. Margulis (eds), Reproductive Aging in Primates , pp. 17-28. Karger Press, Switzerland.


Citation: Andriaholinirina, N., Baden, A., Blanco, M., Chikhi, L., Cooke, A., Davies, N., Dolch, R., Donati, G., Ganzhorn, J., Golden, C., Groeneveld, L.F., 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. Propithecus edwardsi. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 31 October 2014.
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