BECOMING A PRIMATE PRO... SORT OF
10 OF THE MOST ENDANGERED PRIMATE SPECIES
#8 DIADEMED SIFAKA
Common names are not officially defined. They are based on everyday conversational language and may differ by country, region, profession, community, or other factors. As a result, it is not unusual for a species to have more than one common name.
Scientific names are in Latin and they are written in italics. They are standardized and for everyone, no matter what language you may speak. They are bound by a formal naming system, called binominal nomenclature, that has strict rules. Scientific names prevent misidentification. Those names only change if a species, or its genus, is officially redesignated by experts.
Like all lemurs, diademed sifakas are endemic to Madagascar. They live in the eastern and northeastern rainforests of the island, at altitudes between 2,260 and 5,000 ft (800-1500 m).
- Diademed sifakas are one of the largest of the lemur species
- They are leaf-eaters and consume at least 100 plant species
- They occasionally eat soil to detoxify plant tannins, for mineral supplements, to fend off parasites, or all three
- Diademed sifakas propel themselves from tree to tree upright, leaping up to 30 ft (9 m) in a single bound
- On the ground, diademed sifakas skip sidelong, on their hind limbs with their arms above them for balance, in a comical dance
Not only do they face daily threats from fierce predators, but diademed sifakas also face the threat of human activity. Deforestation has been changing Madagascar’s landscape for decades due to human population growth, extreme wild fires, and “tavy,” a slash-and-burn agriculture technique. Slash and burn practices increase erosion, can contaminate water, reduce soil fertility, and change the landscape. Forests are also being cut for charcoal production. The major issue in eastern Madagascar, where diademed sifakas live, is timber extraction for precious hardwoods like ebony and rosewood. In fragmented forests, diademed sifakas are even more vulnerable to predators. Because nutrient-rich food is not readily available, their protein intake is lower than in continuous forest. Poor nutrition leads to lower fertility; more stress leads to compromised immune systems, which makes these sifakas more vulnerable to diseases.
- Diademed sifakas are wild animals. Their dietary and environmental needs cannot be adequately met or replicated in human living conditions.
- To become pets, baby primates are stolen from their mothers. As a result, they do not develop normally emotionally.
- When taken from the wild, their mothers are killed to capture the baby.
- Trade in Critically Endangered species is illegal.
- Primates are never domesticated. They always remain wild.
- Caged primates are very unhappy and frustrated. They are likely to resist confinement. They are quick and cause damaging bites and scratches. Some die as a result of their captivity.
- Many locations have strict regulations that prohibit trading in or keeping primates and endangered species are pets.
- Diademed sifakas belong with other lemurs in Madagascar. They and their habitats must be protected, not exploited.