Photo of the Day
“What the Sifaka is THAT?!”
Photo credit: Andy Kammer
Sifakas are a one of the many varieties of lemur that are found on the island of Madagascar. The word “lemur” comes from the Latin word lemurs, referring to ghosts and spirits. Their staring eyes, haunting calls, and nocturnal nature led early observers to think these primates were ghosts or forest spirits. Unlike most lemurs, Sifakas remain upright and leap from tree to tree, using their powerful hind legs to clear distances of over 30 feet (nine meters). Sifakas can also cover open ground remarkably fast by sashaying, or leaping, on their hind limbs. This movement is often referred to as “dancing.”
There are several species and subspecies of sifaka. Of the most endangered are the Silky Sifaka and the Perrier’s Sifaka, which are both deemed ‘critically endangered’ on the IUCN Red List. Sadly, both species have fewer than 250 individuals. Five other sifaka species (Coquerel’s, Crowned, Diademed, Milne-Edward’s, and the Golden-Crowned)are listed as ‘endangered’. Madagascar is undergoing extensive deforestation and habitat loss, which, along with poaching, are the primary threats to the nation’s lemurs.
Enjoy this video of some Sifakas “dancing” across their habitat:
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