Thursday, November 19, 2009

Deforestation and hunting - Two big threats for lemurs

Madagascar is the real oasis of life with many endemic species that can be find only here, and nowhere else in the world. This is because Madagascar was isolated from landmasses for more than 160 million years, and these conditions enabled development of unique species on this beautiful island. However, many of animals that have their habitats on this beautiful island are facing extinction, mostly because of deforestation, and partially also because of the hunting and poaching. Six lemur species have already been listed as critically endangered, and things will become even worse if current deforestation rates continue.

Madagascar was once heavily forested but in the last 50 years or so about 90% of forests on Madagascar have been destroyed because of logging, mining and farming. These forests are habitats to many species, among which are also famous lemurs that are finding it harder and harder to survive in these new conditions.

After the short period of peace the loggers and poachers have yet again continued to threaten the survival of lemur population. Deforestation still remains the largest cause for fears about lemurs going extinct but their hunting has also become large problem in the last few years, since many endangered animals, lemurs included, are being hunted for bushmeat (mostly because of recent droughts) or to be sold at restaurants as delicacies.

Madagascar is oasis of unique life on this planet, and it is more than obvious that current conservation efforts are not enough to protect many endemic animals from going extinct. We are not talking only about lemurs but many other animals that live on this island and depend on forests to survive. This year alone an estimated $100m worth of hardwood has been cut down and sold, mostly to China to be turned into furniture.

Is furniture really more important than animals?

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