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Aye-aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis) Fact Sheet: Population & Conservation Status

Population Status

Little known on population size or dynamics (from Andriaholinirina et al. 2014)

  • Thought to occur at low densities (Perry et al. 2013)
  • Elusive, nocturnal behavior makes study of this species difficult
    • Expected to have extremely low genetic diversity; lowest of all lemur taxa
  • Large-scale habitat loss suggests population decline (from Andriaholinirina et al. 2014)
    • Exacerbated by hunting

Population structure

  • Northern population is genetically distinct (Perry et al. 2013)

Conservation Status

IUCN Status

  • Endangered (2018 assessment) (Louis et al. 2020)
    • Sharp population declines since 1980s
    • Main threats are hunting and loss of habitat

CITES Status

Other Status

  • Class A of the African Convention, 1969 (Harcourt 1990)

Threats to Survival

Habitat loss (Andriaholinirina et al. 2014)

  • Trees harvested for use in construction
    • Removal of trees, such as Intsia bjuga and Canarium madagascariensis, whose seeds are dietary staples for the species
    • Wood used for construction of boats, houses, and coffins

Hunted by humans (from Andriaholinirina et al. 2014)

  • Used as a food source
  • Killed to limit crop loss
    • Farmers target aye-aye when they consume agricultural crops (e.g. coconuts)
  • Persecuted as a result of associated human cultural beliefs
    • Killed to ward off misfortune; it is seen as a harbinger of evil in some areas

Management Actions

Populations within protected areas

  • Occurs in numerous protected areas (Andriaholinirina et al. 2014)
    • 13 national parks, 7 nature reserves, and 13 special reserves
      • Population size in these areas unknown

Introduced populations

  • Established on Nosy Mangabe island in 1966/1967 in an attempt to help preserve the species (Ganzhorn and Rabesoa 1986; Harcourt 1990)
    • 9 founding individuals
  • Established on Ile Roger (also known as "Aye-aye Island")

Recommended actions (from Harcourt 1990 unless otherwise noted)

  • Establish conservation/education and development programs for local people
  • Improve enforcement of laws against killing aye-ayes (and other lemurs)
  • Establish compensation programs for local people with crop damage due to aye-ayes

Page Citations

Andriaholinirina et al. (2014)
Ganzhorn and Rabesoa (1986)
Harcourt (1990)
Perry et al. (2013)

SDZWA Library Links