Berlin’s zoos are supporting efforts to protect the Coquerel’s sifaka in Madagascar.
- Project partners
Sifaka Conservation / Impact Madagascar
Coquerel’s sifaka (Propithecus coquereli)
- IUCN threatened status
Critically Endangered (CR)
- Project location
The Bongolava and Menabe regions of Madagascar
- Greatest threats
Habitat loss and illegal hunting
Setting up breeding programmes, habitat protection
Threat Categories of IUCN
A first for Europe
In 2021, Tierpark Berlin received its first ever Coquerel’s sifakas. The new arrivals were among the first of these striking lemurs ever to set foot on European soil. In 2021, the Duke Lemur Center in the United States sent members of this critically endangered species to a select number of European zoos so that a reserve population could be established in Europe. With the arrival of its sifakas, Tierpark Berlin also became coordinator of the new European Endangered Species Programme (EEP) for these lemurs.
Like all lemurs, Coquerel’s sifakas are endemic to Madagascar. The diurnal tree-dwellers are excellent climbers who spend the majority of their lives in the treetops. They jump from branch to branch on their search for food and are capable of covering up to 10 metres in a single leap. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), 95 percent of all Madagascar’s lemurs are under threat of extinction – and the Coquerel’s sifaka is one of the most critically endangered.
Deforestation, overconsumption of natural resources and habitat fragmentation all pose a serious ongoing problem. Roughly 45 percent of Madagascar’s rainforest was already destroyed by the 1950s – largely to make room for agriculture. Forest-dwelling animals are also affected by local human populations pushing deeper into remaining forests in search of food and firewood. Experts at the IUCN estimate that the entire population of Coquerel’s sifakas has dropped by more than 80 percent in the last three decades because of habitat loss.
By deploying units to patrol specific areas of forest and working together with local people, the skilled and knowledgeable team working on Impact Madagascar’s Sifaka Conservation project are managing to reduce the impact of human activity on the Coquerel’s sifaka’s home.