Greater Bamboo Lemur

Andrea Lamas

Scientific Name

Prolemur simus
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  • largest of the bamboo lemurs (26-45 cm)

    • and their tails are about the same length


  • Lives in southeastern Madagascar

    • used to be widespread

    • primary or degraded humid forests

    • areas with large woody bamboo species


  • Niche

    • eats almost exclusively bamboo (98%)

      • specifically giant bamboo, Cathariostachys madagascariensis

      • small amounts of fruit, soil, and mushrooms

    • Sedentary
    • all bamboo-eating species of lemurs normally occupy the same area

    • do not deal with much competition or predation

    • not much is known about behavioral ecology (site in Madagascar), but know group size is 4-7

    • only species of bamboo lemur to eat the tough outer talk of bamboo by puncturing it then tearing off the pieces

    • cathemeral species

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Why It's Endangered

  • The greater bamboo lemur's rain forest habitat has been destroyed for slash-and-burn agriculture and because of extensive bamboo cutting, hunting, disturbance, fragmentation, many lemurs have high parasite burdens

    • this lemur is restricted to a very specific environment and its carrying capacity has dropped as the available land and food available has dropped

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Future Prognosis

While their habitat is dwindling as the human population of Madagascar growing, greater bamboo lemurs are expected to either recover or remain critical, but not extinct as long as projects such as finding new, suitable habitats and relocation of lemurs to better protected areas succeed.

How Humans Can Help

  • Donate to the Wildlife Conservation Society & the Madagascar Fauna and Flora Group,
  • If you're interested in lemurs, the Duke Lemur Center is invested in conservation and is home to a ton of lemurs. There the lemurs are cared for as scientists conduct research to learn more about the genetic foundations of primate behavior
  • You can visit and learn more about lemurs, while also supporting the Madagascar Fauna and Flora Group, of which the Duke Lemur Center is a founding and managing member.
  • Also, adopt a lemur! At the Duke Lemur Center