Madagascar's Silky Sifakas
Worldwide, islands harbor some of our planet's most rare and fascinating species. The island of Madagascar, located off the eastern coast of Africa, is no exception. With abundant biodiversity, the island provides a home to 8 plant families, 4 bird families, and 5 primate families that are endemic, or found nowhere else on earth. One of Madagascar's most famed endemic species is the lemur, a small primate found in the island's forests.
Seacology's Madagascar field representative, Erik Patel, has been studying the island's lemurs for a decade. Recently, he was profiled in Smithsonian Magazine for his work with the Silky Sifaka lemurs. Among the rarest of all lemurs, the Silky Sifaka's long white fur and tendency to leap, or "fly" long distances between trees, has inspired the local nickname of "angel." Like many lemurs, the Silky Sifaka are threatened by habitat destruction and by hunting by humans--lemurs are a popular food in some native Malagasy communities.
Erik and other conservationists in Madagascar are working to protect the Silky Sifaka and its rare neighbors by educating people about their threatened status. Seacology is playing an important role on the island as well, creating nature reserves to provide protected habitat in some of Madagascar's intact forest. To read the full profile of Patel's work, visit the Smithsonian website here. Be sure to check out the site's Silky Sifaka video to see these magnificent creatures for yourself.
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons