Sunday, March 13, 2011

Lac Alaotra Bamboo Lemur (Reed Lemur)

The centre of the island is a wide plateau of uplifted rock. Here still there are thousands of earthquakes every year. Over time, millions of these tiny earthquakes has torn a vast hole right in the central uplands forming Madagascar's biggest lake, Lac Alaotra.

Around the edges of this massive body of water, there are reed beds. But the vegetation is not fixed, it floats on water which is 3 meters deep. It is tricky and inaccessible to most species. But there is one creature who is adapted to live here and ONLY here.

A primate, Lake Alaotra Reed lemur. (above picture a reed lemur sleeping)

It is small enough to climb up along the thin leaves. It can survive with a diet of tough grass. Unlike other primates, this one lives his whole life over water in this reed beds only in this lake. To find enough food, they have to move from reed bed to reed bed.

They can't swim and they try not to... They first climb up on a grass. Then due to their weight the grass incline towards another reed bed grass. When the needed amount of shift achieved, they jump in to another tree. (above picture a mother and her child crossing the reed bed)

A Reed Lemur family.

Mother and child feeding.

More Info:
Active mainly during daylight hours. Feeds principally on four food items: the pithy stems of papyrus (Cyperus madagascariensis), tender shoots of reeds (Phragmites communis), and two types of grasses (Echinocochla crusgalli and Leersia hexandra). They live in family groups of up to a dozen members and defend territories ranging in size from less than one hectare to eight hectares. Young are born from September through February and twins are common. The northerly population has not been censused, but probably has also been significantly reduced. Its entire range appears to be rather less than 200 km² and it occurs only up to elevations of 750 m.

Threat Level: Critically Endangered

The species occurs as two sub-populations, a small one in the northern part of the lake around the Belempona Peninsula and a larger one in the adjoining marshlands along the lake's southwestern shores bounded by the villages of Anororo, Andreba and Andilana-Sud.

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