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47. Golden Bamboo Lemur

Hapalemur aureus


The golden bamboo lemur is so called because of the golden fur around its face, inner limbs and belly.

It was first described by Western science 30 years ago, in 1987. Bamboo lemurs are a genus of 5 species, and are the only primates in the world that specialise on a bamboo diet. Every day the golden bamboo lemur eats around 500g of soft stalks and growing tips of giant bamboo, which represents 12 times the lethal dose of cyanide for most mammals. This species has evidently adapted and evolved resistance to the high levels of cyanide within the young bamboo leaves that it eats. Lemurs are the most basal living primates, deriving from a lineage that has independently evolved on the island of Madagascar for 50-60 million years; forming five distinct families of lemur. The golden bamboo lemur comes from the Lemuridae family, and are in the Hapalemur genus with five other species. The species is threatened primarily by the continued loss of its forest habitat due to slash-and-burn agriculture and destruction of bamboo forests for building houses, carrying water, making baskets and other local uses, though they suffer from some hunting pressure.

  • Order: Primates
  • Family: Lemuridae
  • Population: 630
  • Trend: decreasing
  • Size: 260-458mm
  • Weight: 1-2.5kg

EDGE Score

EDGE Score: 5.41 (?)
ED Score: 12.93 (?)
GE / IUCN Red List (?)
Not Evaluated Data Deficient Least Concern Near Threatened Vulnerable Endangered Critically Endangered Extinct in the Wild Extinct


Endemic to Madagascar, the species is known to occur in small patches of rainforest in south-eastern Madagascar, including Ranomafana National Park and Andringitra Nature Reserve.

Habitat and Ecology

The Golden bamboo lemurs’ live in primary rainforests that contain giant bamboo, on which they feed almost exclusively. They feed on new shoots, leaf bases and the creepers of the endemic Cephalostachium madagascariensis giant bamboo species. They are a social species that lives in small family ground of around 2-6 individuals.

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Loading species distribution map...

This wordcloud illustrates the threats facing this species. The size of each word indicates the extent of a species range that is affected by that threat (larger size means a greater area is affected). The colour of the word indicates how much that threat impacts the species (darker shades of red mean the threat is more severe).

Crops Hunting Gathering

Threat wordcloud key:

Small area affected
Large area affected
Least severe
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Severity unknown
Source: The IUCN List of Threatened Species. Version 2017.1.
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