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Propithèque couronné © MNHN - F-G Grandin

The crowned sifaka

The crowned sifaka is a mammal from the Indriidae family. A Madagascan tradition says that ancestors are reincarnated in this animal, so touching or killing it is taboo.

Profile

Class, order and family :
Mammalia, Primates, Indriidae
Life span :
up to 20 – 30 years in captivity
Size & Weight :
39 - 45 cm tall, 3.5 – 4.3 kg
Gestation period :
5.5 months, one baby (every 2-3 years)
Natural habitat :
dry forests, mangroves
Diet :
buds, fruit, leaves, flowers
Native region :
Madagascar
Statut UICN : 

Endangered
The Parc Zoologique de Paris was the first institution to successfully breed the crowned sifaka. It initiated a European Endangered Species Programme (EEP) in 1994 which involves around twenty individuals in captivity, kept in 6 other zoos.

Lifestyle

The sifaka is arboreal and mainly lives up in the canopy. It is a remarkable leaper – it uses its strong hind legs to leap from tree to tree, keeping its body upright. It can jump up to ten metres like this. Unlike the majority of lemurs, it hardly ever uses all four legs on the ground. It jumps around on its hind legs, lifting its arms above its head.

Anecdote

If a predator or group comes into its territory, the sifaka makes a loud sneezing sound and shakes its head backwards using quick movements by way of a warning signal.