Gland, Switzerland, 9 July 2020 (IUCN) – Almost a third (31%) of all lemur species in Madagascar are now Critically Endangered – just one step away from extinction – with 98% of them threatened, according to today’s update of The IUCN Red List of Threatened SpeciesTM. This update completes a revision of all African primate assessments, concluding that over half of all primate species in the rest of Africa are under threat. This update also reveals that the North Atlantic Right Whale and the European Hamster are now both Critically Endangered.
Today’s update shows that 33 lemur species are Critically Endangered, with 103 of the 107 surviving species threatened with extinction, mainly due to deforestation and hunting in Madagascar. Thirteen lemur species have been pushed to higher threat categories as a result of intensifying human pressures. Among those newly listed as Critically Endangered are Verreaux’s Sifaka (Propithecus verreauxi) and Madame Berthe's Mouse Lemur (Microcebus berthae), the smallest primate in the world, both of which were previously listed as Endangered. These species are undergoing substantial declines as their forest habitats continue to be destroyed through slash and burn agriculture, as well as by logging for charcoal and fuel wood. Hunting further threatens Verreaux’s Sifaka, despite being illegal and regarded as taboo or ‘fady’ in many parts of its range.