NEW research published reveals that the ring-tailed lemur could be at risk of extinction in the wild within ten years.

The research was published in an article on conservation website which quoted research teams in Madagascar and Canada.

Dr Lisa Gould from the University of British Columbia in Canada has been studying lemurs since 1987.

She has observed that where the habitat becomes fragmented, the lemur groups don’t do so well and eventually die out.

Professor Jacky Youssuff from the University of Toilara in Madagascar said deforestation adds to the population decrease.

Sadly, the lemurs are also eaten as bushmeat.

Here in Somerset, Tropiquaria has two groups of ring-tail lemurs.

Chris Moiser, director of Tropiquaria said: “This is one of those strange situations where the animal does remarkably well in captivity, and virtually every European zoo that wishes to have them has a group.

“Many of us actually have contraceptive measures in force to stop the groups from producing too many surplus offspring.

“However we usually use reversible measures so that the population is managed and we can start to increase numbers again if we need to.

“At present clearly there is no possibility of putting them back into the wild, as the wild continues to reduce and to be exploited.

“It is frustrating that the situation in the wild is continuing to deteriorate and that there is very little that we can do.

“This must be a bit of a conundrum for extreme animal right believers who want to see all zoos closed.

“Here we have a species that is popular, does well in captivity and yet may well be extinct in the wild by 2024 without zoos.”