Propithecus edwardsi


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Propithecus edwardsi
Species Authority: A. Grandidier, 1871
Common Name/s:
English Milne-edward's Sifaka, Milne-edwards' Sifaka, Milne-edwards’s Simpona
Propithecus diadema (A. Grandidier, 1871) subspecies edwardsi
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 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)
Listed as Endangered as the species is thought to have undergone a reduction of more than 50% over the past 30 years (assuming a generation length of 10 years) due primarily to a decline in area and quality of habitat within the known range of the species and due to levels of exploitation. One recent demographic study, involving 18 years of data, revealed that a 50% population decline within the coming three generations was also very likely.
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. At the northern limit of its range (at the Nosivolo and the Mangoro River) there seems to be a clinal gradient between P. diadema and P. edwardsi (Andriaholinirina and Rabarivola 2004). Ranges from 600-1,600 m.
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Population density estimates are relatively low at 7.6 individuals/km² in Ranomafana National Park (Irwin et al. 2005). South of Ranomafana in the corridor between the park and Andringritra there are good remaining populations of the species, although they occur at much lower densities (about 3/km²). Projecting across the entire range the total number of individuals is estimated at about 20,000 individuals (Irwin et al. 2005).
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 40 to 250 ha. Infants typically are born in June and July every other year. 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, reproduce slowly, have high infant and adult mortalities, and are poor dispersers across fragmented habitats (Pochron et al. 2004).
Systems: Terrestrial

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. Analysis of several plausible scenarios and combinations of threat revealed that a 50% population
decline within three generations was very likely.

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). Its suggested presence in Andohahela National Park (O’Connor et al. 1986, 1987) 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 harbor 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 2007, no animals are known to be held in captive breeding programmes.

Bibliography [top]

Andriaholinirina, V. N. and Rabarivola, J. C. 2004. Limites de la zone de repartition de Propithecus diadema diadema et Propithecus diadema edwardsi. Lemur News 9: 18–19.

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.

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.

Lehman, S. M., Ratsibazafy, J., Rajaonson, A. and Day, S. 2005. 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.

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.

Tattersall, I. 1982. The Primates of Madagascar. Columbia University Press, New York, USA.

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. Propithecus edwardsi. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. <>. Downloaded on 21 April 2014.
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