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US denounces Madagascar regime for failing to protect lemurs

ANTANANARIVO, July 19 – The United States on Thursday denounced Madagascar’s failure to protect its furry lemurs, which last week were declared the world’s most endangered mammal.

The small primates, made famous in the Dreamworks “Madagascar” movies, are found only on the Indian Ocean island, which hosts an astonishing array of unique creatures and is home to an estimated 20 percent of all the world’s primates.

“The United States is deeply concerned about recent findings by international environmental experts that over 90 percent of Madagascar’s lemurs are either endangered or on the verge of extinction,” the US embassy said in a statement.

Experts from the International Union for Conservation of Nature met in Madagascar last week and found that 90 percent of lemur species are endangered, making them the world’s most endangered mammal.

The United States said the findings “highlight the stark decline in rule of law, and the lack of good governance, since Madagascar’s 2009 coup d’etat.

“They also serve as another reminder of the current de facto regime’s failure to exercise fundamental responsibilities and its utter disregard of international norms,” the embassy added.

“The United States calls for regime authorities to cease trade in protected species and timber, and to halt the dramatic destruction of a global patrimony.”

Madagascar has been mired in crisis for more than three years, since current strongman Andry Rajoelina seized power from elected president Marc Ravalomanana.

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