When Endangered Lemurs Need a Home, This Is What You Build

Critically Endangered Nosy Be sportive lemurs quickly moved into their new homes. (Photos by Valerie C. Clark)
Shrinking and degraded forests in Madagascar have left sportive lemurs homeless without their tree-hole sleeping spots, so the i.F.r.o.g.s. team came up with a “constructive solution.” (Photo by Valerie C. Clark)

By Drs. Valerie C. Clark and Patricia C. Wright of i.F.r.o.g.s.

With forest destruction rampant in Madagascar, finding a good home is difficult for Nosy Be sportive lemurs.

These nocturnal primates prefer spacious tree-hole housing to protect them from predators as they sleep all day, but big trees containing tree-holes are rare in degraded forests. Being critically endangered, it’s important to the lemurs’ survival to raise their infants with a nice standard of living—the next step after critically endangered is “extinct in the wild!”

A Nosy Be sportive lemur clings to a traveller's palm during the day in degraded forests (left), exposed to predators like buzzards that fly in from Lokobe National Park (right). (Photos by Valerie C. Clark)
A Nosy Be sportive lemur clings to a traveller’s palm during the day in degraded forests (left),
exposed to predators like buzzards that fly in from Lokobe National Park (right). (Photos by Valerie C. Clark)
Sportive lemurs are active at night (left) and try to hide to sleep during the day (right). (Photos by Valerie C. Clark)
Sportive lemurs are active at night (left) and try to hide to sleep during the day (right). (Photos by Valerie C. Clark)

To address this housing crisis, the Indigenous Forest Research Organization for Global Sustainability (i.F.r.o.g.s.) team including local Malagasy naturalists tried an experiment. We constructed 25 wooden day-resting boxes to serve as tree holes in degraded forests to the east of Lokobe National Park in northwestern Madagascar.

<img src="http://voices.nationalgeographic.com/files/2015/12/3_installing-boxes-2panel-600×415.jpg" alt="In August 2015, Dr. Clark and her team installed 25 day-resting boxes for lemurs. (Photos by Valerie C. Clark)" —> Read More

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