Conclusion Protostele

It is clear from this review that we are only beginning to understand the complexity of lemur disease ecology. What is apparent is that a basic understanding of the natural state of lemur health and disease is essential to identify potential problems in more intact habitats as well as those undergoing rapid anthropogenic change. Such information is also critical for the development of better models of lemur disease ecology. While wild lemurs can sometimes withstand dramatic injuries, as well as other maladies, such existing conditions are likely to affect overall condition and immune systems, making individuals in poor or compromised health less likely to survive additional pressures. It is also critical to understand how age may affect health status as well as disease susceptibility, as younger and older individuals may be at greater risk when habitats are fragmented by human alteration. As humans and their domestic animals come into increasing contact with Madagascar's lemurs, pathogens for which little natural immunity exist will become of increasing importance. Toxoplasmosis, arboviruses such as West Nile virus, as well as herpesvirus, which have been introduced by recent human occupation, are of special concern. Understanding lemur disease ecology at a community level is also important. For example, it is likely that different patterns of socioecology among lemur species may directly affect their natural disease susceptibility, as well as make some species more at risk when human changes occur. What is clear is that a strongly collaborative, multidisciplinary approach will be required to monitor existing health and disease patterns and to facilitate the development of predictive models, all of which will be a critical component of future lemur conservation in lemur populations throughout Madagascar.

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