03:08 GMT +324 January 2020
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    Real-life “prototypes” of the King Julien, the Lord of the Lemurs from the popular animated comedy film “Madagascar,” are facing extinction.

    Madagascar's beloved ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta) were never considered a species in danger until recently. Their populations have rapidly decreased 20 fold since 2000, according to two different groups of scientists that conducted simultaneous but independent research, published in Primate Conservation and Folia Primatologica.

    Now, there are only about 2,000-2,400 individuals left. Many sub-populations now contain fewer than 30 ring-tailed lemurs. The iconic animals have completely disappeared from at least 15 sites they once called home, the scientists warned.

    The scientists are sure that the main factor for the ring-tailed lemurs' disappearing is human intervention: quick habitat loss, hunting and illegal pet trade. About as many as 2,000 lemurs are kept in captivity.

    According to the researchers, the ring-tailed lemurs are likely to feature the list of the world's 25 most endangered primates due out in 2017.

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    lemur, extinction, animal, danger, Madagascar
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