Bamboo lemurs facing grave consequences of climate change

Marked as one of the most endangered primate species on Earth, the Bamboo lemur’s population has dropped down to an extreme low. A total of just 500 of them have currently survived in the wild. A group of researchers from the Stony Brook University, the Academy of Finland, Marie Curie Actions of the European Union and the Kone Foundation conducted a study upon the leftover population of the bamboo lemurs and came to the conclusion that the adverse climate change might pressure them to change their dietary habits which would ultimately lead to starvation.

The findings of this study were published in the journal ‘Current Biology.’ As mentioned in the same study, these bamboo lemurs feed on a single species of bamboo which includes the woody trunk known as culm. During the dry season, these primates prefer to eat the nutritious and tender part of the bamboos shoots and only eat the culm when required with their specialized teeth. The scientists conducted a study on the bamboo lemurs of Madagascar’s Ranomafana National Park and found out that these animals survive on a highly complex and specialized teeth which helps them feed on culm.

During the unavailability of the woody culm, from August to November, these teeth help the primates to spend most of their time feeding on a single species of the wooden bamboo. Recent changes in the climatic conditions have increased the dry spell which cuts down the availability of the more nutritious and preferred part of the bamboo for the lemurs.

According to the lead author of the study, Patricia Wright, Stony Brook University, this gradual and harsh climate change can be a very impactful killer for the bamboo lemurs. Climate change is making these primates rely on the less preferred part of the feeding cycle which could be just enough to bring them to the category of extinction.

The bamboo lemurs might not go extinct too soon but they surely will in a more subtle way. The resulting increase in temperature along with deforestation is sure to make the world witness the extinction of many such species along with the primates.

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