A new study from Temple University researchers found that more than 28,000 lemurs have been illegally kept as pets over the last three years.
Lemurs are the world's most endangered primates and are native exclusively to Madagascar. But keeping lemurs as pets in Madagascar's urban areas could slow conservation efforts and lead to a quicker extinction of some lemur species.
The Temple researchers spent three months studying 1,000 households in 17 cities and villages across Madagascar. They discovered that law enforcement against pet lemur ownership is rarely enforced. The findings were published Monday in the conservation journal Oryx.
In the study, the researchers urge conservation programs to consider the lemur pet trade in their efforts to ensure the species' preservation.