The Indri according to Mammal
Today’s EDGE (Evolutionary Distinct and Globally Endangered) species is the interesting indri (Indri indri).
Restricted to the north-eastern rainforest of the island, the indri is the largest lemur species indigenous to Madagascar, and is distinguished from other lemurs by its short, vestigial tail. They weigh between 7 and 10 kg, females being larger than males, and can be up to 90 cm in length. Indris are black with some white pelage (colouring varying by location), have large, tufted, black ears and yellow eyes.
Indris are diurnal animals, and among the most arboreal of the lemurs. They feed primarily on leaves, but also consume fruits, flowers and seeds.
Females give birth to one offspring every two to three years, and weaning takes place after about 6 months. Indris appear to be monogamous and live in family units.
According to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, the indri is listed as Endangered. The main threat they face is the loss of their habitat to supply fuel and timber, as well as slash-and-burn agriculture.
Indris are vocal animals, making loud calls produced by a laryngeal air sac, and can be heard by humans from as far away as 1.9 kilometres.
The native name for indris was actually ‘babakota’ or ‘ambalana’, but a misunderstanding arose between the local Malagasy people and the person who ‘discovered’ it, as indri means ‘there it is’.
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