The Silky sifaka

The Silky sifaka (Propithecus candidus), remarkable by its longwholly white fur, is one of the world’s rarest mammals. This large lemurmeasures 48-58 cm long and weighs 5-6 kg. It is endemic to the northeasternregion of Madagascar and is locally known as the simpona. The Silky sifaka islisted as one of the 25 most critically endangered primates by theInternational Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).  In the MaMaBay Landscape, the Silky sifakaoccurs only in the northern part of the Antainambalana River within the NaturalPark of Makira where it lives in small isolated groups suggesting geneticexchange problems between populations. It is mainly diurnal, but generallybegins to rest late in the afternoon from 4 or 5 pm. It feeds on fruit, youngleaves and flowers and occasionally eats soil.

The Silky sifaka is known to be predated by the Fosa, a cat-likecarnivore.  But the major threat ishunting as there is no local taboo (fady) against eating this species. Themanagement priority is currently directed on information and sensitizing campaignsto involve the population in the conservation of the species. Material andtechnical support are given to the local people to help them adoptnon-destructive socio-economic activities. To document on the geographicalrange and population size of the species in the MaMaBay landscape, a survey isnecessary.  Thus, an intensive study hasbeen initiated in the Makira Natural Park since 2010 to generate relevantbio-ecological information for the management needs to restore the population.

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