Date: 14 Nov 2011

Long-Term Lemur Research at Centre Valbio, Ranomafana National Park, Madagascar

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Abstract

We present findings from 25 years of studying 13 species of sympatric primates at Ranomafana National Park, Madagascar. Long-term studies have revealed that lemur demography at Ranomafana is impacted by climate change, predation from raptors, carnivores, and snakes, as well as habitat disturbance. Breeding is seasonal, and each species (except Eulemur rubriventer) gives birth synchronously to be able to wean before winter. Infant mortality is high (30–70%) and partly due to infanticide in Propithecus edwardsi,and perhaps Varecia variegata. Diurnal lemurs can live beyond 30 years in the wild and most females reproduce until death. Small-bodied Microcebus rufuslive up to 9 years without signs of senescence. Prolemur simusmigrates in search of new bamboo and mates, and related V. variegatamothers park their multiple offspring in “kindergartens,” protected by others while mothers forage. Interference competition among sympatric lemurs occurs. Anthropogenic factors, such as past selective logging and climate change may influence the declining density of E. rufifrons, P. simus, and P. edwardsiwhile not affecting the density of pair-living species.