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Red-ruffed Lemur (Varecia rubra) Fact Sheet: Population & Conservation Status

Population Status

Global population

  • No range-wide estimate (Andriaholinirina et al. 2014)

Conservation Status

IUCN status (Andriaholinirina et al. 2014)

  • Critically Endangered (2018 assessment) (Borgerson et al. 2020)
    • > 80% population reduction suspected over c. 24 years; 3 generations
    • Continued decline in area, extent, and quality of habitat
      • Upsurge in illegal logging
        • Becoming more rapid since the onset of political instability in early 2009
    • Exploitation (hunting pressure) and natural disasters exacerbate the threat
    • Past assessments
      • 2008: Endangered
      • 2000: Critically Endangered
      • 1996: Critically Endangered
      • 1990: Endangered

CITES status

  • Appendix I (UNEP 2020)

Threats to Survival

Habitat degradation

  • Logging
    • Destroys and opens up forest habitat
    • Animals highly reliant on tall primary forest
  • Fire
    • Also damages habitat


  • Targeted for food by some people

Catastrophic environmental events

  • Vulnerable to frequent cyclones (hurricanes)
    • Small, concentrated population susceptible to large-scale population decline resulting from climatic events

Management Actions

Populations within protected areas (from Andriaholinirina et al. 2014 unless otherwise noted)

  • 2 protected areas
    • Masoala National Park
      • Heavy, illegal logging greatly impacts this park
    • Makira Protected Area
  • Connected by corridor (Razakamaharavo et al. 2010)
    • A narrow forest corridor (Ambatoledama) connects these two parks
    • Genetic evidence suggests movement of animals across this corridor

Captive breeding and care (from Andriaholinirina et al. 2014)

  • Captive populations
    • Safeguard against extinction
  • Genetic diversity
    • Low within captive populations

Needed actions (from Andriaholinirina et al. 2014)

  • Illegal logging impacts
    • Reduce and mitigate against
    • Increased regulation and management needed
  • Hunting
    • Reduce and mitigate against

Red-ruffed Lemur

Red-ruffed lemur

Red-ruffed lemur. 

ZOOM Erlebniswelt, Gelsenkirchen, Germany.

Image credit: Mathias Appel at Flickr. Public domain.

Page Citations

Andriaholinirina et al. (2014)
Razakamaharavo et al. (2010)

SDZWA Library Links