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54. Greater Bamboo Lemur

Prolemur simus


The largest of the bamboo lemurs, this species can be identified by its distinctive white ear tufts.

Discovered in 1870, it was believed to have become extinct by the early twentieth century. It was rediscovered in 1972. It is one of only a handful of mammals that specialise in eating bamboo. Completely dependent on this low-energy food source, the lemur must lead a very sedentary lifestyle and spend much of its time eating. As with many specialist species, this lemur is unable to adapt to its rapidly changing habitat. Lemurs are some of the most basal living primates, and have evolved for 50-60 million years independently on the island of Madagascar. Widespread clearing of its rainforest habitat, by slash-and-burn agriculture, illegal logging, mining, and cutting of bamboo, has caused populations to become isolated in the few remaining patches of forest capable of supporting this species.

  • Order: Primates
  • Family: Lemuridae
  • Population: 500
  • Trend: decreasing
  • Size: 260-458mm
  • Weight: 1-2.5kg

EDGE Score

EDGE Score: 5.33 (?)
ED Score: 11.96 (?)
GE / IUCN Red List (?)
Not Evaluated Data Deficient Least Concern Near Threatened Vulnerable Endangered Critically Endangered Extinct in the Wild Extinct


The Greater bamboo lemur is found in the Ranomafana and Adringtra forests and is patchily distributed in the forested corridor between these two national parks.

Habitat and Ecology

This species feeds almost exclusively on bamboo, particularly Giant Bamboo. They can eat the cyanogenic parts of young leaves with no ill-effects, though unlike other bamboo lemurs, they also eat mature leaves. They supplement their diet with small quantities of fruit, soil and mushrooms. They are found in primary rainforest where there is an abundance of giant bamboo.

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Conservation Actions

For each key category of conservation action, we calculated a conservation attention score based on expert information. In this graph, a higher score means the action is being carried out more intensively over more of the species range. The colour shows how important each action is considered to be for the conservation of this species.

Engaging stakeholders
Addressing threats
Status of knowledge
Management plan
Capacity building
Behaviour change
Awareness raising
  Score: 100 means the activity occurs at high level across more than 75% of the species range
Very Low

Overall Conservation Attention

We combined all of the expert information on conservation actions to calculate an overall conservation attention score for this species. Please help us to reach our goal of establishing dedicated conservation attention at “High” levels for all EDGE species.

Very Low Low Medium High

More information

Recent studies have grouped all possible conservation activities for any species into nine key categories (Washington et. al 2015). For each action, we asked experts for each species to assess the extent to which that action is being carried out and how much of the species’ range that action occurs in. For each action we used these two pieces of information to calculate the conservation attention score per action. A score of 100 means that the action is being carried out to a high level across at least 75% of the species range. We then combined the scores for all actions into an overall conservation attention score for the species. The experts also judged how important each category was to the conservation of that particular species.

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 Logging

Threat wordcloud key:

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