A tough fate awaits bamboo lemurs, as their life doesn’t seem to get any easier. The creatures were already regarded as critically endangered, but the threat they face has gotten even bigger. Climate change has significantly reduced their food sources, so they now have to struggle with the threat of starvation.
Bamboo lemurs are affected by the rainy season shortening
Bamboo lemurs live in a perfect relationship with bamboo, as they have adapted their eating cycle with the growth cycle followed by the bamboo. During a normal season, the plant is extremely rich in proteins and other nutrients. However, when the dry season comes, lemurs are left with the less nutritious part of the bamboo, but they have already gotten ready for the moment, and have accumulated the necessary chemicals during the normal cycle.
However, climate change has significantly affected the growth cycle of bamboo. Researchers looked at several populations of bamboo lemurs from Madagascar, and found that the rainy season could sometimes come with a delay of three months.
If the plant lacks rain, it cannot develop the nutrient-rich part. While this doesn’t affect its life, it has a huge impact on the diet of the lemurs, which have to munch on the hard part with less proteins. Apart from threatening them with starvation, it also represents a big danger for their teeth.
The animals are pushed from their habitats by deforestation
Some time ago, the island of Madagascar was populated by bamboo lemurs on its entire surface. However, as climate change advanced, the animals now occupy only the driest part of the island, namely the eastern region. This happened due to intense deforestation, which forced the animals to retreat as they lost their habitat. However, they will soon have to place where to find a shelter.
This is why researchers decided to take action and save the bamboo lemurs. They want to start an intense bamboo planting session in the rainforest, to offer the animals a bigger supply of food which should last even during the harshest period of the year. The study has been published in the journal Current Biology.
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