February Primate of the Month — Indri Lemur
February Primate of the Month – the Indri Lemur
Indri Lemur Quick Facts:
- Scientific Name: Indri indri
- IUCN Status: Critically Endangered
- Population: Unknown but estimated between 1,000-10,000
- Range: Madagascar
- Habitat: Moist Lowland and Montane Forests
- Diet: Immature Leaves, Flowers, Fruits, Seeds and Bark
- Major Threats: Habitat Fragmentation, Illegal Poaching
The largest of the lemurs, the Indri is easily recognizable by their distinctive large black ears, yellow eyes and stumpy, vestigial tail. Indris are only found in Madagascar and are one of the few species in the family that only live in the wild, with no individuals found or bred in captivity.
Indris live in smaller, familial groups with one monogamous parenting pair at the head of the family. Females produce offspring every 2-3 years, with infants sticking close to mom’s side for much of the first year. Exact life spans are unknown.
Lemurs may not look like your average primate, indeed they belong to the suborder Strepsirrhini (STREP-sə-RY-nee), along with lorises, galagos (bush babies) and pottos. Despite genetic distinction from apes and monkeys, they still face similar threats: specifically deforestation (leading to habitat fragmentation) and illegal poaching, among others. Sadly, these threats have landed the Indri on IUCN’s Critically Endangered list. Without widespread intervention from local authorities and conservation groups, the Indri lemur faces a rather bleak and unsure future.
If you do get a chance to see these incredible primates in the wild, you might hear them before you see them! Indris have a unique call that can be heard from over a mile away. Watch the video above to hear the beautiful song of the Indri.