Indri simply means ‘there it is’ in the Malagasy language.
The species got its name from local people shouting ‘indri, indri!’ when pointing out the animal to European naturalists. The Betsimisaraka tribal name for the species, ‘babakoto’, means ‘ancestor of man’. This may be because it is the largest living lemur, and is the only species that lacks a tail. Because of this, it receives a degree of protection from native fady (taboo) traditions that prohibit its consumption. However, it still faces the same pressures seen by all lemurs; habitat loss due to logging and slash and burn agriculture, which occurs even within protected areas. The species is suffering from having highly fragmented populations, with gene exchange between these groups being difficult, and the prospect of suffering a genetic bottleneck looking to be a only a matter of time. They are the sole member of their genus, Indri, with only three genera in the family Indriidae, one of which are the sifakas.
- Order: Primates
- Family: Indriidae
- Population: 1,000-10,000
- Trend: decreasing
- Size: 61-90cm
- Weight: 6-10kg
Indri are endemic to Madagascar, inhabiting the eastern rainforests from the Mangoro River north to Sambava, but excluding the Masoala Peninsula.
Habitat and Ecology
Indri inhabit primary and secondary lowland and mid-altitude rainforest, from sea level to 1,500 m above sea level. They feed on leaves, flowers, fruit and bark. They live in groups of 2-6 individuals, which are thought to consist of an adult pair and their offspring. This species has an extremely low reproductive rate. Females do not reach sexual maturity until around 7-9 years of age. They give birth to a single young every two to three years, and infant mortality is high, with 50% of infants dying before they are 2 years old from falls, injuries or illnesses.