Silky sifakas fight for survival in Madagascarby Chloe, Posted May 14th, 2012 Tweet
See the original story at BBC Nature News.
Silky sifakas, which live in the rainforests of Madagascar, are critically endangered, with as few as 300 individuals remaining. A team of biologists is undertaking an emergency effort to protect and study the primates.
Female silky sifakas give birth to only one baby every two years, and are fertile for just one day a year.
Dr. Eric Patel from Duke University in North Carolina, US, studies these troubled primates in Madagascar. In the UK, his work features in the BBC Two’s Natural World: Madagascar, Lemurs and Spies on Thursday 15 March at 20:00 GMT.
Dr. Patel’s team has been studying a troop found living in a disturbed part of the rainforest. This animal was darted to allow the researchers to take blood samples before it was fitted with a radio collar.
The radio collars allow researchers to follow the silky sifaka troop and find out how they cope in parts of the forest affected by illegal logging.
Silky sifakas have a very complex diet – feeding mainly on leaves and seeds, but also fruit and flowers. This is one of the reasons they are especially vulnerable in the face of habitat loss.
Dr. Eric Patel is involved in trying to protect the rainforest from the illegal logging of ebony and rosewood trees: “The only way to save a silky sifaka is to save the few remaining patches of forest where they are found.”