Perrier’s sifaka
(Propithecus perrieri)
The name sifaka is a reference to a common call given by western dry forest sifakas in which they give an explosive, hiss-like "shee-faak" call several times in succession, though sifakas are actually rather silent animals. Perrier’s sifaka is distinguished from other members of the group by its dense black coat and is perhaps one of the most geographically restricted and least-studied members of the genus Propithecus. Perrier's sifakas are usually found at elevations below 500 m, in small forest fragments, they are found in both dry and riparian forests. This species is under threat from continued habitat loss and hunting throughout their restricted range.
Urgent Conservation Actions
Comprehensive density estimates are needed. Populations occurring outside of reserves need to be protected.
Evolutionary Distinctiveness
Order: Primates
Family: Indridae
Propithecus is one of three genera within the family Indriidae. Originally, two species of sifaka were recognized in Madagascar: P. verreauxi occupying the dry southern and western forests, and P. diadema occupying the eastern rainforests. Within P. diadema, four subspecies have been traditionally recognized: perrieri, candidus, diadema, and edwardsi. These four “types” of diademed sifaka are allopatric, distributed along a north–south gradient, and easily distinguished by virtue of their distinct and colorful pelages. P. d. perrieri, the northernmost taxon, has the smallest distribution, being restricted to the Analamera Special Reserve and small forest fragments to the west. A recent analysis examining the phylogenetic relationships among known Propithecus spp. that drew from morphological and genetic evidence supported the elevation of Propithecus diadema perrieri to specific status, as P. Perrieri.
Head and body length: 430-470 mm
Weight: 3.7- 5 kg
Sifakas are among the largest lemurs and, within its range of occurrence, Perrier's sifaka is the largest species. Individuals have uniformly black hair which is sometimes tinged with russet-brown around the chest and lower abdomen. Perrier's sifakas have short faces, as do all sifakas. The face is bare and dark grey-black, eyes are a deep orange-red, ears are small and largely concealed.
This species exhibits a vertical clinging and leaping form of locomotion. Very little is known of its habits in the wild. Individuals eat a variety of leaves, unripe fruit, stems, and flowers. Groups range in size from two to six individuals and home ranges approach 30 ha. Within the group only one adult pair reproduces. Offspring are born June-July.
This species is an inhabitant of tropical dry deciduous forest, from sea level to 400m.

Historically, the geographic range for P. perrieri includes only the very restricted area of dry forests that occurs within the Analamerana Special Reserve and Andrafiamena Hills, and possibly sections of the neighbouring Ankarana Special Reserve (where it may not have been resident and has not been recorded at all during recent surveys). Animals have been observed in forest fragments between Analamerana and Ankarana. This species ranges from sea level to 400 m.

Population Estimate
Less than 250 mature individuals
Population Trend
Classified as Critically Endangered (CR 2a(ii)) on the 2010 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
Perrier’s sifakas are threatened by swidden agriculture, wildfires, sapphire and hardwood extraction as well as hunting throughout their range. Roughly four-fifths of Madagascar’s forests have been stripped bare. This has considerable impact as the species’ rarity and that its small range makes it susceptible to habitat modification and destruction. During the dry season, they drink water on the ground, and when they move between forest patches they move along the ground where their conspicuous coloration makes them vulnerable to predators and hunters.
Conservation Underway
This species is listed on Appendix I of CITES. It is currently known only from the Analamerana Special Reserve, although even within this protected area the forests have been reduced by as much as 10% over an eight-year period.

Since 2005, a group of interested parties, led by the Monaco-based non-governmental organisation Act for Nature and the Groupe d’Etude et de Recherche sur les Primates de Madagascar, have been conducting a conservation and research programme for Perrier’s sifaka. The programme’s goals are to secure this species’ future in at least one major area currently without any degree of protection and to gain further scientific knowledge on this species that will help inform future conservation measures
Conservation Proposed
It has recently been seen in the area between Analamera and Ankarana special reserves, and these forests should be annexed to the existing protected areas. The only other site where this species occurs (in small numbers) is in Andavakoera Classified Forest, and conservation efforts are urgently required there. Total numbers are unknown. Comprehensive density estimates are urgently needed. The enhancement of infrastructure at Ankarana and Analamerana to support moderate tourist volumes and research presence should be considered.
Andrainarivo, C., Andriaholinirina, V.N., Feistner, A., Felix, T., Ganzhorn, J., Garbutt, N., Golden, C., Konstant, B., Louis Jr., E., Meyers, D., Mittermeier, R.A., Perieras, A., Princee, F., Rabarivola, J.C., Rakotosamimanana, B., Rasamimanana, H., Ratsimbazafy, J., Raveloarinoro, G., Razafimanantsoa, A., Rumpler, Y., Schwitzer, C., Thalmann, U., Wilmé, L. & Wright, P. 2008. Propithecus perrieri. In: IUCN 2010. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2010.4. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 15 November 2010.

Banks, M. A. et al. 2007. Global population size of a critically endangered lemur, Perrier’s sifaka. Animal Conservation 254(10):  254–262.

Garbutt, N. 2007. Mammals of Madagascar: A Complete Guide. A & C Black Publishers Ltd.

Irwin, M. T. 2007. Ecologically Enigmatic Lemurs:The Sifakas of the Eastern Forests (Propithecus candidus, P. diadema, P. edwardsi, P. perrieri, and P. tattersalli) in Developments in Primatology: Progress and Prospects. Springer US.

Mayor, M. I. et al. 2004. Specific Status of Propithecus spp. International Journal of Primatology, 25(4): 875-900.

Mittermeier, R. A. et al. 2006. Primates in Peril: The World’s 25 Most Endangered Primates, 2004–2006. Primate Conservation (20): 1–28.

Schwitzer, C., Arnoult, O. and Rakotosamimanana, B. (2006) An international conservation and research programme for Perrier’s sifaka (Propithecus perrieri Lavauden, 1931) in northern Madagascar). Lemur News, 11: 12-14.

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