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A Lemur Downfall

>> Thursday, August 20, 2009

Climbing lemur
Originally uploaded by Tambako the Jaguar
Conservation International released photos earlier today showing the horrors of a lemur hunt. Please take heed, the photos are brutal. Since a coup that occurred earlier in the year, the very thing that draws visitors and money has been decimated. From the illegal destruction of the islands hardwood forests to the current mass poaching of the very animals that people go to Madagascar to see. All of this has lead to a drastic decline of ecotourism and a horrid decline on the ecology of this amazing place.

Earlier in the year, I mentioned amazing frog fossils that were found there, but it is more than that. it's estimated that 85%-90% of all wildlife in Madagascar is found no where else on earth! It is a veritable garden of Eden. Unfortunately, due to human interference, the island has lost about one-third its native vegetation since the 1970's. This latest catastrophe does not help.The poaching is done by groups of criminal gangs that are selling the meat to "luxury" restaurants.

The president of Conservation International, Dr. Russ Mittermeier, had the following to say:

What is happening to the biodiversity of Madagascar is truly appalling, and the slaughter for these delightful, gentle, and unique animals is simply unacceptable. And it is not for subsistence, but rather to serve what is certainly a “luxury” market in restaurants of larger towns in the region. More than anything else, these poachers are killing the goose that laid the golden egg, wiping out the very animals that people most want to see, and undercutting the country and especially local communities by robbing them of future ecotourism revenue.

In the last week Madagascar has taken important steps towards resolving its political crisis and move towards the restoration of democracy. It is counterproductive of the international donor community to continue denying conservation and development funding because this only encourages poor governance of the country’s natural resources. The world community must act now to support the dedicated local wildlife authorities who are battling to prevent this globally important resource from being destroyed.

Hopefully, there is some way we can save these creatures before it's too late.

Photo licensed under Creative Commons. Climbing lemur Originally uploaded by Tambako the Jaguar on Flickr.


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