The Indri Lemur is a species of Lemur native to the “forests of Madagascar.” “Active during the day and thoroughly arboreal, the indri clings to trees and climbs in an upright position as it feeds on leaves, fruit, flowers, and other vegetation.” They are one of the largest living lemurs at around “60–70 cm (24–28 inches) long, with a rudimentary tail and large hands and feet,”(Encyclopædia Britannica, 2013). These diurnal primates are an endangered species, with their greatest threat being human beings.
According to BBC, “almost every species of lemur, wide-eyed primates unique to Madagascar, is under threat of extinction.” They state that the greatest threat to the lemur’s existence is “primarily the destruction of their tropical forest habitat, from so-called slash-and-burn agriculture, illegal logging, charcoal production and mining.” The Indri lemur is only one of the many species affected by human-caused habitat loss. Another threat they face is hunting, conducted by the local people. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) “implemented what it calls a "lemur action plan" to save the animals, with plans including protecting habitats where the most threatened species live and tackling poverty through ecotourism schemes, in order to help local people to avoid the need to hunt the animals,” (Gill, 2018).
The lemur action plan is a three year plan, developed by the IUCN, which aims for the “stabilizing the immediate crisis in priority areas, laying [of] the groundwork for longer-term actions in all habitats that are crucial for preventing lemur extinctions, the promotion and expansion of ecotourism, [and the] sustaining and expanding [of] the long-term research presence in critical lemur sites; field stations that support a permanent presence of local and international field workers can serve as training grounds for Malagasy scientists while deterring illegal hunting and logging,” (Emergency…, 2016).
Overall, there are about 111 various species of Lemur on Madagascar and out of those, around 105 of them are “under threat,” (Gill, 2018).
What makes the Indri so intriguing and interesting is its likeness to man, as well as its song that it emits in the early morning. According to the Daily Mail, this animal is known as the “Babakoto” to the natives of Madagascar. The call of the Indri has been described as a “deafening call like a crying child.” It is also known as the “dog-headed man”because it has always [been] depicted as standing upright, with a shaggy coat and enormous, human-like hands and feet.” Additionally, these animals have been very elusive to researchers; “the one attempt to study it in captivity 20 years before had failed dismally. A group of indris sent to a Paris zoo all died within a month, the keepers having been unable to replicate their highly specialised diet of leaves,” (Sir David Attenborough, 2018).
The importance of awareness of conservation efforts, such as those taken to rehabilitate lemur populations is undeniable. As a part of the native ecosystem of Madagascar, the lemurs play an important role in both culture and environmental health. Though many conservation efforts are still examples of minor successes in the scope of human impact, their impact is not without value. These small species focused conservation efforts contribute to the greater good of maintaining and protecting ecosystems which contain amazing and intriguing animals.
Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. "Indri." Encyclopædia Britannica. September 25, 2013. Accessed December 12, 2018. https://www.britannica.com/animal/indri-lemur-species.
"Emergency Three-year Action Plan for Lemurs." IUCN. May 19, 2016. Accessed December 12, 2018. https://www.iucn.org/content/emergency-three-year-action-plan-lemurs.
Gill, Victoria. "Lemur Extinction: Vast Majority of Species under Threat." BBC News. August 02, 2018. Accessed December 12, 2018. https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-45035560.
Sir David Attenborough For The Daily Mail. "SIR DAVID ATTENBOROUGH on His Search through Madagascar for the Indri." Daily Mail Online. September 02, 2018. Accessed December 12, 2018. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6125003/SIR-DAVID-ATTENBOROUGH-search-Madagascar-indri.html.