Ring Tailed Lemur
- Have a complex communication system of visual and vocal signals.
- They have complex dominance relationships.
- Males and females scent mark their territory.
- Females will form crèches and will share the care of their young.
- Males leave their original groups when they are mature.
Ring tailed lemur
Animals — Mammals — Primates — Lemuridae
Ring tailed lemurs are perhaps the most recognisable lemur species because of their striped black and white tails. They use these for communication and so they can keep track of each other. Other than their tails, they are mostly grey or brown-grey, with white faces and undersides. They also have black rings around their eyes and black muzzles and feet.
These lemurs are highly social, being found in large groups. There are multiple males but it is the females that lead the group, with female lineages. Male offspring will leave the group when mature, but female offspring will stay. Females are dominant to males in all aspects. There is a hierarchy between females, but generally older males tend to be dominant in the males. Lemurs are also famous for their “yoga” postures when they sunbathe.
Lemurs as a whole are endangered and at risk of extinction. The ring-tailed lemur is classed as “endangered” because of high levels of habitat loss and hunting. Lemurs are also sometimes collected as pet animals, which affects population numbers, and drought can threaten their already declining populations.
Habitat: Forests. They often live at higher altitudes than other lemurs. They are mostly found in gallery forest rather than rainforest.
–Average weight: 3kg
–Average length: 1m
In the wild up to: 25 years
In captivity up to: 30 years
Diet: They are herbivores and so eat plants. They will eat many different plants and parts of the plant.
Distribution: Southern and south-western Madagascar.
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.
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!