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Black & White Ruffed Lemur

Fact File

Class: Mammal
Family: True Lemurs
Found: Madagascar
Size: 50-55 cm
Weight: 3-4.5 kg
Diet: Herbivore (Plant Eater)
Gestation: 90-102 days

Conservation Status: CR

Black and White Ruffed Lemur

Varecia variegata variegata

Habitat: This species is very patchily distributed in lowland to mid-altitude rain forests. Black-and-white Ruffed Lemurs maintain large home ranges consisting of primary forest with tall trees. They are almost exclusively fruit eaters, and as they are very selective feeders, this makes them especially susceptible to disturbance.  This species is named after the thick black and white coat it possesses, especially the thick tufts on its ears.
Threats: The principal threat to its survival is habitat loss due to slash-and-burn agriculture, logging and mining. They are large and active through the day so among the most heavily hunted of all lemur species. In Makira  they are one of the more expensive and desired meats. This is one of the first lemurs to disappear where humans encroach upon rain forest habitats.
Social Behaviour:
They live in variable multi male-multi female single pairs and communities and they are very territorial. The extremely loud barking call is to ward off other lemurs. They have a group size of 5-16 and up to 32.
Food: The diet consists of fruit, seeds, leaves and nectar. They can pass seeds in 2-3 hours.
 Information: They are very arboreal and daytime active, they often like to hang upside down by their feet to feed.There are only two very distinctive sub-species of Black and White ruffed lemur; this and the variegata sub species.
Three subspecies of variegata are recognised, each occupying a different range: Varecia variegata subcincta is the most northerly subspecies, occurring from the Antainambalana River south to the Anova River.
Breeding: They reach maturity at 20 months and have a gestation period of 90 to 102 days. They give birth every 12 months in spring to twins. Ruffed Lemurs are the largest lemur to have three pairs of nipples and multiple infants. Young are parked in nests for the first week and rather than clinging are carried in the mothers mouth.
 Projects: ANTONGIL
Map: Red = Locations Found 793
black_white ruffed lemur
How we are Protecting Wild Animals
There are over 100 species of lemur – almost all of these are in decline and are under threat of extinction.

 Since 2005, our Antongil Conservation project has worked in a bay in the north east of Madagascar. People there are poor and had to live off the land. For years they hunted lemurs for meat, and cut down forest to sell wood and use the land for farming.

Our teams monitor wildlife, plant trees and patrol the area for illegal logging and poachers. We also have a new reintroduction project for lemurs.

The project helps communities to make better use of the land, boosting crop production. We also provide farm animals as an alternative source of food.

Ecotourism has been introduced, as well as education and employment for local people. Our annual “lemur festival” attracts thousands of citizens, who celebrate the lemurs and the successes of the project!

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