Image courtesy Dr. Erik Patel, Lemur Conservation Foundation
DID YOU KNOW?
The Silky sifaka is one of the rarest animals in the world!
Sifakas get their name from the “shi-fak” sound they make when calling out to mark their territories in the forest. They are native to Madagascar, just like their distant relative the indris. The rare “silky sifaka” is one of the most well-known animals today. They spend most of their day resting and taking it easy up in the mountains they call home. When they are not busy resting, silky sifakas can be found interacting and playing with each other.
In silky sifaka groups, females take the lead. Maternal care appears to be important to the sifakas as well. Upon birth, infants stay close to their mothers and always sleep next to them. Sifaka moms take care of their babies until they are old enough to take care of themselves. One may also spot a silky sifaka mom traveling through the forest with her baby on her back. Some sifakas like the Coquerel’s sifaka are agile jumpers and can leap long distances between trees and on the ground. Instead of walking on all four limbs on the ground, they like to hop which makes them look as if they are dancing.
Sifakas also play a unique role in the local economy in Madagascar as many travel from across the globe to see them, along with many other animals native to the island which promotes and supports eco-tourism in the region.
Silky sifakas are currently listed as critically endangered.
There are nine different kinds of sifakas, all of which are at risk of becoming extinct. Scientists believe there may be fewer than 200 silky sifakas left.
The sifakas are losing the woods they call home. Some of the trees such as rosewood and ebony in these forests are cut down for their commercial value while other trees are cut down to make wood products, fuel, and homes. Their land is also being converted into grassland for livestock grazing. Silky sifakas are also hunted for food, which is a growing problem because there is no local taboo against this.
Rare Footage Of Endangered Silky Sifakas, BBC
OUR ALLY FOR PROTECTING
Lemur Conservation Foundation
The Lemur Conservation Foundation (LCF), founded in 1996, is a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and conservation of the primates of Madagascar through managed breeding, scientific research, education, and art. At their 130 acre reserve in Florida, LCF is home to over 50 lemurs of six different species, most of which are critically endangered, including ring-tailed lemurs, mongoose lemurs, red ruffed lemurs, collared brown lemurs, common brown lemurs, and Sanford's lemurs. They maintain an active office in northeastern Madagascar and support conservation initiatives with a focus on community-based conservation and research programs in and around Anjanaharibe-Sud Reserve and Marojejy National Park
HOW YOU CAN GET INVOLVED WITH PROTECTING THE SIFAKAS
Our allies at the Lemur Conservation Foundation suggest that the following actions can help protect the Silky Sifaka:
Donate to support Lemur Conservation Foundations’ conservation programs in northeastern Madagascar.
Do not purchase products made of rosewood or ebony from Madagascar.
Dr. Erik Patel, Lemur Conservation Foundation
Background image by Jeff Gibbs courtesy