Coquerel’s Sifaka

By Erik Iverson

Coquerel’s Sifaka



Coquerel’s Sifaka

Scientific Name: Propithecus coquereli

Where in the World?
The Northwest of Madagascar off the coast of Africa

How Big?
Head-Body- 40-50 cm (16– 20 in)
Tail- 50-60 cm (20 – 24 in)
Weight- 4 kg (8.5 lbs)

How Many?
Unknown. Common in only two areas. Endangered.

If you’ve seen the movie Madagascar, you’re probably familiar with lemurs. Lemurs are relatives of monkeys that are found only on the Island of Madagascar. The leader of the lemurs in the movie is a ring-tailed lemur. One lemur that is particularly amazing is the Coquerel’s sifaka.

Coquerel’s sifaka (pronounced “sheef-auk”) is a beautiful lemur that lives only in the dry tropical forests of Northwestern Madagascar. These forests are warm like rainforests, but have much less rain and fewer trees. The sifaka is arboreal, meaning it lives mostly in trees. It has adapted to the scarce trees by being a good jumper. It can jump up to 33 feet horizontally from one tree to another. It remains vertical when it jumps, even springing sideways to stay upright. When the trees are too far apart, Coquerel’s sifaka does something very unique—it hops along the ground on both feet, using its arms to balance!

The sifaka is a diurnal (dye-ur-nuhl) animal, which means it is active in the daytime. It looks for food in groups of three to ten animals, led by a dominant female. This female-dominance is known as a matriarchy (may-tree-ar-kee). The sifaka gets its name from the “sheef-auk!” cry it makes to alert the other members of its group to danger. Babies are born after a gestation of five and a half months. They cling to their mother as she leaps about, and become independent at six months of age.

In a tropical area like Madagascar, there are really only two seasons, the wet season and the dry season. In the wet season, sifakas eat many different plant parts, including fruit, flowers, leaves, and bark. In the dry season, they eat only living leaves and buds. Isolated from mainland Africa, lemurs have evolved with few natural predators. Only the fearsome fossa, which you may remember from the movie Madagascar as “the foosa”, commonly preys on sifakas.

Unfortunately, sifakas and other lemurs face more serious threats than fossas. Madagascar is one of the most degraded habitats on the planet. It is estimated that only 10% of Madagascar's original forests remain. Local people, who live in poverty, destroy forests to create pastures and cropland. Trees are also logged to produce charcoal. Habitat destruction like this is the main threat to lemurs and other wildlife. They also face direct pressures—some species, like sifakas, are hunted for food or other reasons. Coquerel’s sifaka is an Endangered Species, and it is declining in number. It currently inhabits only Ankarafantsika National Park and the Bora Special Preserve.

There are things you can do to help lemurs and other wildlife in Madagascar. The first thing to do is to ask your parents not to buy cloves or spices grown in Madagascar. These crops contribute to deforestation in Madagascar and can be grown more sustainably elsewhere. Ask your parents not to buy products made from rosewood or other woods logged in Madagascar.

Next, with your parent’s permission, go to http://www.wildmadagascar.org/help.htm to find more ways to help out.


Coquerel's Sifaka (Propithecus coquereli)



Coquerel's sifakas kissing



Coquerel's Sifaka balancing on a bamboo rail



Coquerel's Sifaka (Propithecus coquereli)



Coquerel's Sifaka (Propithecus coquereli) with baby



Coquerel's Sifaka (Propithecus coquereli) in Madagascar



Coquerel's Sifaka eating leaves



Coquerel's Sifaka (Propithecus coquereli)



Coquerel's Sifaka dancing across a clearing



Coquerel's Sifaka (Propithecus coquereli) with baby



Coquerel's sifakas grooming



Coquerel's Sifaka dancing across a clearing



Female Coquerel's Sifaka (Propithecus coquereli) with baby



Coquerel's Sifaka eating leaves



Coquerel's Sifaka doing a Michael Jackson dance move



Coquerel's Sifaka taking flight



Coquerel's Sifaka (Propithecus coquereli)



Coquerel's Sifaka dancing across a clearing



Coquerel's Sifaka (Propithecus coquereli) in Madagascar



Coquerel's Sifaka jumping



Coquerel's Sifaka (Propithecus coquereli)



Coquerel's Sifaka dancing across a clearing



Coquerel's Sifaka (Propithecus coquereli) in Madagascar



Coquerel's sifakas grooming



Coquerel's sifaka



Coquerel's Sifaka (Propithecus coquereli) with baby



Coquerel's Sifaka (Propithecus coquereli)



Coquerel's Sifaka dancing across a clearing



Coquerel's Sifaka getting air



Coquerel's Sifaka eating leaves



Coquerel's Sifaka (Propithecus coquereli) in Madagascar



Coquerel's Sifaka eating leaves



Coquerel's Sifaka eating leaves



Coquerel's Sifaka dancing across a clearing



Coquerel's Sifaka (Propithecus coquereli)



Coquerel's Sifaka dancing across a clearing



Coquerel's Sifaka dancing across a clearing



Mother Coquerel's Sifaka (Propithecus coquereli) with baby



Coquerel's Sifaka dancing across a clearing



Coquerel's Sifaka (Propithecus coquereli) in Madagascar



Mother Coquerel's Sifaka (Propithecus coquereli) with baby



Coquerel's sifaka



Coquerel's Sifaka (Propithecus coquereli)



Mother Coquerel's Sifaka (Propithecus coquereli) with baby



Coquerel's Sifaka dancing across a clearing



Coquerel's Sifaka eating leaves



Coquerel's Sifaka (Propithecus coquereli)



Coquerel's sifakas kissing




Animal profiles

Birds
Bare-Faced Ibis
Blue and Gold Macaw
Common Potoo
Green Honeycreeper
Grey Winged Trumpeter
Harpy Eagle
Hoatzin
Horned Screamer
Jabiru Stork
Malachite Kingfisher
Mealy Parrot
Northern Cassowary
Savanna hawk
Scale-crested pygmy-tyrant
Rhinoceros Hornbill
Scarlet Ibis
Wattled Jacana

Mammals
Asian black bear
Black-and-white ruffed lemur
Black-faced spider monkey
Bornean Rhino
Brown capuchin monkey
Capybara [2nd profile]
Coquerel's Sifaka
Crowned Lemur
Eastern Long Beaked Echidna
Howler Monkey
Kinkajou
Malagasy Giant Jumping Rat
Malayan Tapir
Margay
Mountain Gorilla
Plains Zebra not a rainforest species
Puma
South American tapir
South American coatimundi
Spectral Tarsier
Spider Monkey
Squirrel Monkeys
White-lipped peccary
Woolly Monkey


Reptiles
Green Basilisk
Leatherback Sea Turtle not a rainforest species
Pygmy stump-tailed chameleon
Spectacled Caiman


Amphibians
Giant Chinese Salamander
Gladiator Tree Frog
Green Poison Arrow Frog
Indian Purple Frog
Monkey Frog
Follow mongabay kids on Twitter

All about Rainforests
Sponsor(s)


FAQs

  • May I use graphics from mongabay.com for my projects? Yes, you may provided that you don't remove the mongabay label from the images. You may use information from the site for class projects and can cite kids.mongabay.com as the source.
  • Can I interview the founder of mongabay.com for my school project? Unfortunately due to the large number of requests and the need to work on the main mongabay.com site, Rhett (the person who runs mongabay.com) is not available for interviews. However he has answered some common questions on the Rainforest Interview page.
  • Do you have any games or activities? Currently there are a few on the resources page. There may be more in the future.
  • Who are some scientists who study rainforests? Take a look at the Interviews with rainforest experts page.
  • How can I help save rainforests? Some ideas are listed on the Rainforest Solutions page.
  • Where can I learn more about rainforests? There is a wealth of information at the main rainforest site

    Simplified version (fewer images and links)


  • home | teacher resources | rainforest books for kids | other languages | about the site | main rainforest site | help support the site | search | contact

    ©2008 mongabay.com