New research indicates that almost one-third of all lemur species are kept as illegal pets throughout Madagascar. The widespread trading of lemurs in the country may threaten conservation efforts of some endangered species.
Over a period of six months, investigators collected data through a web-based survey resulting in 302 sightings of 685 captive lemurs. Also, an analysis of websites and social media pages of 171 hotels revealed that 15% appeared to have illegal captive lemurs on their premises that were seemingly advertised as an attraction for tourists.
"More outreach, regulation and enforcement is needed to ensure the illegal pet trade is curbed," said Dr. Kim Reuter, co-author of the American Journal of Primatology study. "In addition, we need to begin working with the tourism industry in Madagascar to ensure that high-end resorts stop using lemurs as attractions to guests. Tourists need to know that it is not legal to remove lemurs from their native habitats."
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Kim E. Reuter et al. Illegal captive lemurs in Madagascar: Comparing the use of online and in-person data collection methods, American Journal of Primatology (2016). DOI: 10.1002/ajp.22541