WASHINGTON, July 13 The lemurs of Madagascar -
known for their haunting cries and reflective eyes - are the
most endangered primate group on Earth, because they are losing
their forest habitat, the International Union for Conservation
of Nature said on Friday.
Conservationists meeting in Madagascar's capital
Antananarivo this week said 91 percent of the world's 103 lemur
species are now listed as critically endangered, endangered or
vulnerable on the global Red List of Threatened Species, a sharp
increase from a previous assessment in 2005.
"Lemurs are in danger of becoming extinct by destruction of
their tropical forest habitat on their native island of
Madagascar, off Africa's Indian Ocean coast, where political
uncertainty has increased poverty and accelerated illegal
logging," the conservation group said in a statement.
Hunting is also a more serious threat than previously
thought, the group said.
One of the critically endangered lemur species is the indri,
the largest living lemur and one with symbolic value comparable
to China's giant panda, the conservationists said.
(Reporting by Deborah Zabarenko; Editing by Vicki Allen)