German president gives lemur to Madagascar

7th April 2006, Comments 0 comments

7 April 2006, ANTANANARIVO - German President Horst Koehler Friday made his Madagascan hosts a present of a near-extinct red ruff lemur on the second day of his visit to Madagascar.

7 April 2006

ANTANANARIVO - German President Horst Koehler Friday made his Madagascan hosts a present of a near-extinct red ruff lemur on the second day of his visit to Madagascar.

Environmental protection was one of the central themes of his visit, Kohler said, as he presented the male lemur to the Zoological and Botanical Gardens in Antananarivo. Madagascar had treasures which had to be preserved for humanity, he said.

The ape-like, red ruff lemur can be found only on Madagascar and the neighbouring Comoros Islands. However, their habitats are being threatened by continuing deforestation and through fire clearance. About 80 per cent of the lemur's original habitat in Madagascar has already been destroyed.

As the ruff lemur is a protected species, the country's Zoological Gardens are not allowed to catch them. Germany's Cologne Zoo is coordinating a European breeding programme to prevent them from dying out.

Only one female, red ruff lemur has lived in Antananarivo up until now.

Kohler had earlier Friday met the Association of German Teachers at the Goethe Centre in Antananarivo. The German language has been taught on the island nation for the past 98 years and is the second official language along with Russian and Spanish.

Kohler called on the German government to invest more in the teaching of the German language and German culture abroad. He also presented a prize of a trip to Germany to the two winners of a school competition.

DPA

Subject: German news

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