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The Dr. Abigail Ross Foundation for Applied Conservation (TDARFAC)

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The Dr. Abigail Ross Foundation for Applied Conservation (TDARFAC)

Supporting Member of the Lemur Conservation Network

What We Do

The intention of TDARFAC is to bridge the gap between academic breakthroughs in conservation science and applied conservation efforts on the ground by generating actionable conservation interventions. Ultimately, our aim is to support novel applications of techniques and approaches from the natural and social sciences while leveraging existing knowledge to solve real-world problems.

How We Protect Lemurs and Other Wildlife

Grantmaking

Planet Madagascar Women’s Cooperative. The cooperative engages in independent business ventures including circus farming, forest restoration, and bee-keeping in Ankarafantsika National Park.

TDARFAC provides grants to support conservation research and community-based conservation, which aligns with our mission statement and objectives:

  1. building capacity;
  2. amplifying voices; and
  3. partnering with local communities.

TDARFAC supports individuals, collaborations or partnerships, and non-governmental organizations working in non-human primate habitat countries. The foundation’s primary focus is assisting conservationists from low- and middle-income countries as defined by the World Bank and/or people and/or organizations working therein. However, projects based on any non-human primates, their habitats, or any animal or plant species, which share and influence the same landscapes as non-human primates and directly relate to their conservation, are eligible for funding. Grants are awarded based on the guidance and recommendations of the Advisory Council.

Reforestation Corridor Connecting Andasibe-Mantadia National Park and Analamazoatra Special Reserve

Reforestation corridor team collage, EcoVision Village, Andasibe Madagascar.

We are in currently in the first phase of creating a wildlife corridor connecting two of Madagascar’s most important protected areas: Andasibe-Mantadia National Park and Analamazoatra Special Reserve.

These areas are home to various Endangered and Critically Endangered wildlife species, including 12 lemur species. Wildlife populations in the two protected areas are currently not connected due to past (~1960s) deforestation that previously connected these two forests. This is a landscape scale project and hugely collaborative effort between various people and organizations.

Long-term Conservation Goals for this Project

  • Replant 1,500 native tree seedlings per hectare across 233 hectares.
  • Hire ten local community members to prepare land and plant native seedlings.
  • Support a local native seedling nursery.
  • Create a critical native forest corridor connecting some of the most Endangered wildlife populations on Earth.
  • Facilitate community-based ecotourism and research projects to provide long-term employment opportunities for local community members.
See a List of Collaborators for this Project

What Lemur Species We Protect

Diademed sifaka in Andasibe. Photo: Lynne Venart.

Our reforestation corridor project connecting Andasibe-Mantadia National Park and Analamazoatra Special Reserve contains the following species within the landscape:

  • Aye-aye, Daubentonia madagascariensis (Endangered, Population Declining)
  • Black and white ruffed lemur, Varecia variegata (Critically Endangered, Population Declining)
  • Brown lemur, Eulemur fulvus (Vulnerable, Population Declining)
  • Diademed sifaka, Propithecus diadema (Critically Endangered, Population Declining)
  • Eastern woolly lemur, Avahi laniger (Vulnerable, Population Declining)
  • Goodman’s mouse lemur, Microcebus lehilahytsara (Vulnerable, Population Declining)
  • Gray bamboo lemur, Hapalemur griseus (Vulnerable, Population Declining)
  • Greater dwarf lemur, Cheirogaleus major (Vulnerable, Declining)
  • Greater sportive lemur, Lepilemur mustilinus (Vulnerable, Population Declining)
  • Hairy-eared dwarf lemur, Allocebus trichotis (Endangered, Population Declining)
  • Indri, Indri indri (Critically Endangered, Population Declining)
  • Red-bellied lemur, Eulemur rubriventer (Vulnerable, Population Declining)

How We Support Local Communities

University of Antananarivo – ADD students visiting our EcoVision tree nursery for the reforestation corridor project, Andasibe, Madagascar.

Field Training Programs for Malagasy Master’s Students in Lemur Ecology, Behavior, & Conservation

A consortium of international lemur specialists was formed in 2021 to create two parallel Field Training Programs with the intention of assisting master’s degree students at the University of Antananarivo. Our goal is to establish annual training programs at the below field sites to support the next generation of Malagasy primatologists.

Mahatsinjo Research Station in the Tsinjoarivo Forest

Students conducted fieldwork at the Mahatsinjo Research Station within the Tsinjoarivo-Ambalaomby Protected Area, with logistics coordinated through the NGO SADABE. Tsinjoarivo forest is a mid-altitude eastern rainforest with ten lemur species. The landscape at Tsinjoarivo covers an east-to-west gradient from degraded fragments with an incomplete lemur community to intact, relatively undisturbed forest with all lemurs present.

University of Antananarivo – ADD students visiting reforestation corridor project for World Lemur Day with partners EcoVision, Mad Dog Initiative, & Association Mitsinjo.

Ampijoroa Field Station in Ankarafantsika National Park

Students also conducted fieldwork at the Ampijoroa Field Station within Ankarafantsika National Park (ANP), with logistics coordinated through the NGO Planet Madagascar. ANP is a dry deciduous forest ecosystem containing eight lemur species, and also contains networks of forest fragments in which lemurs can be studied.

Awards Program

We honor scientists and activists for exceptional contributions to the field of conservation and preservation of biodiversity. Individuals may be nominated for awards by peers, mentors, and/or colleagues.

  • The Devoted to Discovery: Women Scientist Conservation Award recognizes the extraordinary and cutting-edge scientific work of women in conservation science. Women in science are encouraged to seek nominations.
  • The Advocates for Change: Future Conservationist & Activist Award honours the remarkable achievements of early-career conversationists and activists in applied conservation.

Students, educators, experts, and community activists are encouraged to seek nominations.

 

World Lemur Day booth in Maromizaha, Madagascar.

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Wildlife Madagascar

Wildlife Madagascar

Supporting Member of the Lemur Conservation Network

What We Do

Wildlife Madagascar is committed to safeguarding biodiversity through habitat protection via management, patrolling and monitoring; developing local sustainable livelihood opportunities and improving food security; and developing ecotourism capacity. Only by bringing local knowledge, practicality, and priorities together with a focused scientific and educational effort will we be successful in protecting Madagascar’s breath-taking biodiversity.

How We Protect Lemurs and Other Wildlife

Indri. Photo: Lytah Razafimahefa.

Forest habitats and wildlife can only be effectively protected if the pressures of human encroachment can be alleviated. We use an integrated conservation and human-development approach to reduce pressure on Madagascar’s globally important forests and wildlife populations. We protect the habitat and provide surrounding communities with sustainable livelihoods and services.

Patrolling and Monitoring the Forest

We provide protection of forest habitats through patrolling and monitoring, training, and border demarcation and enforcement.

Strengthening Communities

While habitat protection is key, working with local communities is integral to success. We aim to increase food security and income generation for local farmers through participatory, sustainable agricultural development and researching the most effective crops and livestock. We aim to strengthen the capacity of local community-based organizations and farmer leaders to facilitate community-based learning for agriculture and livelihood development. We seek to develop alternative livelihoods for community members through ecotourism and other initiatives. We provide support and supplementary education to ensure that children attend and complete primary school and become participants in appreciating and protecting their native wildlife.

What Lemur Species We Protect

Northern Bamboo Lemur. Photo: Lytah Razafimahefa.

The programs implemented by Wildlife Madagascar help protect the following species:

  • Indri (Indri indri)
  • Silky sifaka (Propithecus candidus)
  • White-fronted brown lemur (Eulemur albifrons)
  • Red-bellied lemur (Eulemur rubriventer)
  • Northern bamboo lemur (Hapalemur occidentalis)
  • Eastern woolly lemur (Avahi laniger)
  • Seal’s sportive lemur (Lepilemur seali)
  • Goodman’s mouse lemur (Microcebus lehilahytsara)
  • Greater dwarf lemur (Cheirogaleus major)
  • Hairy-eared dwarf lemur (Allocebus trichotis)
  • Masoala fork-marked lemur (Phaner furcifer)
  • Aye-aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis)

More Animals that Benefit from Our Work

  • Fossa (Cryptoprocta ferox)
  • Malagasy civet (Fossa fossana)
  • Broad-striped mongoose (Galidictis fasciata)
  • Helmet vanga (Euryceros prevostii)
  • Mossy leaf-tailed gecko (Uroplatus sikorae)

How We Support Local Communities

Wildlife Madagascar’s programs target areas adjacent to forest where local communities currently rely on income from logging, poaching, farming, and other extractive practices. Improving farming methods to achieve greater food security will reduce reliance upon forest exploitation and encourage use of alternative food sources. Through experimental learning and action methods, the initial aim of Wildlife Madagascar is to increase yields by exploring sustainable agriculture techniques.

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Ary Saina

Ary Saina

What We Do

Ary Saina is a group of Malagasy conservation biologists promoting scientific research and knowledge for the conservation of Madagascar’s unique but imperiled biodiversity.

​Ary Saina was founded in 2017 with the following objectives:

  • Promote and facilitate scientific research in Madagascar
  • Contribute to the capacity building of Malagasy in science
  • Conduct scientific research to enhance biodiversity conservation and sustainable management of natural resources in Madagascar

 

Ary Saina Study Sites by Angelo Andrianiaina

How We Protect Lemurs And Other Wildlife

We lead and participate in several projects related to lemur conservation in Madagascar. Most of our members conduct research on lemur biology and ecology to help conserve lemurs in their natural sites.

The socio-economic development activities we plan to implement to improve livelihoods aim to reduce threats on lemur habitat.

What Lemur Species We Protect

Current projects are conducted in two rainforest sites: (1) in the eastern fragmented forest of Ihofa with a focus on an assemblage of different species lemurs, including the critically threatened indri (Indri indri) and black and white ruffed lemur (Varecia variegata); and (2) in the southeastern forest of Ranomafana National Park with a focus on both large-bodied diurnal lemurs like the red-bellied lemur (Eulemur rubriventer) and small-bodied nocturnal lemurs like the brown mouse lemur (Microcebus rufus).

 

How We Support Local Communities

Our current focus is in supporting the local communities living near Ihofa forest in Andasibe. We implement socio-economic development activities to improve their livelihoods. We are in need of funding to support the building of an elementary school in the area. We currently teach children local to our field sites (who often have no opportunity to attend school, with the closest being 8 hours walk away) skills such as writing and counting. We also deliver skills training to empower Malagasy scientists to build a career.

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Money for Madagascar

What We Do

At Money for Madagascar (MfM) our mission is to enable Malagasy people to reduce poverty and protect their unique environment through sustainable, community-led initiatives.

Having long recognised the interdependence of people and their environment, MfM supports local solutions that enable Malagasy people to take charge of their own livelihoods and future. Through education, training, and practical support, we enable farmers and forest dwellers to provide for their families, whilst protecting and restoring their fragile environment and rich biodiversity.

How We Protect Lemurs And Other Wildlife

Reforestation around Andasibe and Torotorofotsy with Association Mitsinjo


Since 2015, MfM has been working in partnership with Association Mitsinjo to gradually increase the area of restored forest around Andasibe at a rate of about 10ha per year. This has restored vital habitat for the forest’s wildlife.

In the areas already planted, reforestation has brought immediate benefits to the land in terms of erosion prevention and water absorption. In the longer term, Mitsinjo’s painstaking restoration technique provides the best conditions for the natural forest to regenerate. By using a mix of up to 60 carefully selected indigenous tree species, the Mitsinjo team harness the power of nature to complete the restoration process! By including a range of fast growing fruit trees, attractive to seed dispersers such as birds, fruit bats and lemurs, the Mitsinjo reforestation team ensure that wildlife is drawn to the replanted areas, bringing in seeds from other plants in their faeces and facilitating the return of the natural forest. Restoration of natural forest is not a fast process but replanted areas have seen the return of key indicator species such as the Blue Coua and brown lemurs.

What Lemur Species We Protect

By planting corridors to join isolated fragments of primary forest, the reforestation project around Andasibe and Torotorofotsy is extending the habitat for many endangered species such as the Indri (Indri indri) lemur.

How We Support Local Communities

Reforestation work has provided vital employment opportunities for local people and environmental education has helped to raise awareness of the value of the forests.

MfM’s reforestation work with Mitsinjo has always considered the needs of the local population and has emphasised ensuring local employment in reforestation, protection and ecotourism. Funds in 2020 made it possible to embark on sustainable livelihoods development in the hamlets of Sahatay and Sahakoa, in the Torotorofotsy buffer zone.

Supporting the development of sustainable livelihoods in these isolated communities is vital for the long-term success of Mitsinjo’s conservation and restoration efforts. 90% of the population living around the Torotorofotsy Protected Area are extremely poor and heavily dependent on the forest and wetland to meet their basic needs. Away from the eco-tourism hub of Andasibe village, they see less of the obvious benefits of keeping the forest intact. However, without their support for forest restoration and conservation, unsustainable subsistence agriculture, wildlife poaching and illegal logging will continue unabated, transforming this unique ecosystem into rice fields and destroying its rich biodiversity.

We urgently want to scale up the pace of this important work and to increase investment in both reforestation and strengthening livelihoods as a long-term strategy to restore and protect the forest.

Betampona Reserve Livelihoods Project

In Betampona we are working with our partner SAF to offer people living around the Special Rainforest Reserve practical alternatives to deforestation and wildlife poaching. By providing training, tools and long term technical support, we enable local families to improve food security and increase income whilst protecting precious wildlife habitats.

MfM takes a long-term approach to supporting families living around the Betampona special rainforest reserve. For over 30 years, MfM has focused on helping people to overcome their problems, to value and protect the land and to live off it in a sustainable way.

The project, which began in 5 communities surrounding the reserve, has now spread to 100 communities covering over 600km2.Thousands of subsistence farming families have been able to sustainably improve their lives and build a better future for their children, which is a key factor in keeping the Betampona rainforest in tact.

One of the secrets of the Betampona project’s success is the long term, people-centered approach taken by SAF’s committed team of technicians and community workers. The dedicated staff team has established deep respect and trust with the villagers. Their long-term commitment and support mean that benefits are durable and far-reaching. Instead of cutting down new forest every year to try to meet their basic needs, forest communities invest in infrastructures such as rice fields, dams, ponds and animal pens, to get more out of their existing land. Instead of poaching lemurs, farmers are able to improve their diets with fish and poultry. By planting productive trees farmers gain a stake in the forest and are motivated to value and protect it.

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Ny Tanintsika

What We Do

Ny Tanintsika works to empower communities to conserve lemurs through a multifaceted approach that builds local capacity, addresses livelihoods concerns and promotes stakeholder collaboration and communication.

Lemurs are crucial to Madagascar’s rich and thriving biodiversity. The decline in lemur populations and the rapid extinction of a number of species, due to habitat loss and hunting, is jeopardising this biodiversity.

Currently, a number of forest communities hunt and eat lemurs as a primary source of protein in their diet, or keep them as pets. Although protection legislation exists, it is not widely known, understood nor enforced. Habitat loss due to forest in-migration for ‘slash and burn’ agriculture, deforestation and logging is an equally crucial factor in this project.

How We Protect Lemurs And Other Wildlife

Whilst focusing on Golden Bamboo Lemur (Hapalemur aureus) species, we are gathering data on all primates in the previously unresearched forests of Ambohimahamasina and three neighbouring areas. Data collection on lemurs is conducted by local stakeholders, and forest inhabitants will become lemur monitors to ensure project sustainability.

Additionally, 12 signs encouraging lemur conservation are being erected along Ambohimahamasina’s 3 main forest footpaths crossing to the eastern side of the forest ‘corridor’.

What Lemur Species We Protect

We target lemur taxa that are categorized as being Critically Endangered, and in a listed action plan locality site (the COFAV). The Lemur Conservation Strategy lists the COFAV as being home to 21 lemur taxa of which 6 are critically endangered, 7 endangered, 4 vulnerable, 1 near threatened and 3 data deficient.

COFAV has the highest number of lemur species of any protected area in Madagascar – of which a disproportionate number are in elevated threat categories. However, scientific research on biodiversity has largely been limited to national parks.

Threatened Species Targeted:

  • Golden Bamboo Lemur (Hapalemur aureus): Critically Endangered C2a(i)

Other threatened species benefitting from the project:

  • Southern Ruffed Lemur (Varecia variegata ssp. editorum): Critically Endangered A2cd
  • Milne-Edward’s Sifaka (Propithecus edwardsi): Endangered A2cd+3cd+4cd
  • Gilbert’s Lesser Bamboo Lemur (Hapalemur griseus ssp. gilberti): Endangered B1ab(i,iii)

How We Support Local Communities

Support is being given to forest inhabitants to make their lifestyles more sustainable, which is beneficial to human communities and nature. Agricultural production on deforested land is boosted through training on improved techniques, with 6 community tree nurseries operational to provide saplings for agroforestry, reforestation and forest restoration to meet both human and lemur needs. Numerous awareness-raising initiatives are combined with promotion of alternative sources of income and protein, including small-scale fish-farming and chicken-rearing, and the capacity-building of Community Forest Management associations to reduce lemur poaching and habitat loss.

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Madagascar Lemurs Portal

What We Do

The Madagascar Lemurs Portal aims to improve the conservation state of lemurs by addressing existing data gaps and facilitating exchanges and sharing of expertise and data between a wide group of stakeholders with a role in lemur conservation.

It is an online project which aims to reach the public at large: both Malagasy and international users. The project is supported by the Madagascar Biodiversity Fund.

Our office is based in Antananarivo, yet several capacity sessions are conducted by the lemur portal team in different regions of Madagascar where local NGO and partners are based. Training has so far been provided in Toamasina (Eastern region), Mahajanga (Western region), Ranomafana (Southeastern region), Morondava (Southwestern region), Mahajanga (Western region), and Antananarivo (Central region).

How We Protect Lemurs And Other Wildlife

We help protect lemurs and Malagasy wildlife through championing the sharing of conservation information and knowledge to inform research and policy.

The unique biodiversity found in Madagascar is under extreme pressure from anthropogenic activities including agriculture and hunting. As the country’s most emblematic species, Madagascar’s 112 lemur species, of which most are now endangered, represent a clear example of the biodiversity threat dynamic operating in Madagascar.

Despite awareness within conservation and research circles of the growing threats to lemur species, and a passionate international and national conservation community that has leveraged significant support for investment in research and field-based conservation actions, efforts to date have failed to reverse negative trends in lemur conservation status.

Knowledge Dissemination

Data collection on lemur and awareness raising to the local communities

A contributing factor to this failure is related to weak biodiversity information and access to knowledge on the part of stakeholders involved in conservation activities. Specifically, there is a lack of a robust mechanism to create positive feedback loops between research, policy decisions, and on the ground conservation actions.

Following a technical meeting with over 40 representatives of lemur conservation organizations in February 2016, a consortium of local conservation partners (FAPBM, WCS, and GERP) proposed to address this problem by developing the ‘Madagascar Lemurs Portal’.

This online platform aims to be a technically and scientifically robust, user-friendly, open-access tool that is regularly used by a wide range of user groups; and provides essential information for conservation evaluation and decision making processes (e.g., IUCN Red List assessments and donor and partner monitoring of protected area effectiveness); and that is continuously evolving with the addition of new data shared among users.

How We Support Local Communities

Collaboration with protected areas manager – Madagascar National Parks in Zombitse Vohibasia

The Lemur Portal ensures collaboration between a wide ranges of stakeholders related to lemur conservation from decision-makers to the local community.

Information, communication, and education (ICE)

CE includes our key activities for supporting local communities, especially local technicians and protected areas managers. We gather data/information on lemurs while also engaging local communities to format and insert these collected data in the portal. Our team builds local capacities on biodiversity data management, geographical information, and strategic planning for the academic student, local technicians, and those involved in protected area management.

Over two years, we have trained more than 300 local technicians from various regions of Madagascar.
Data/information from local NGO’s and community will be transferred via the lemur portal to decision-makers, tourists, and international organizations for lobbying and raising awareness.

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Halt Poverty Madagascar

What We Do

At Halt Poverty Madagascar we work on empowering the people of Madagascar through sustainable development, focused on eco-tourism.

Halt Poverty Madagascar was launched in November 2015 to address the clearing of local forests and the high rate of unemployment within the regions of Fianarantsoa: Amoron’i Mania, Ihorombe, Mahatsiatra Ambony, Vatovavy Fitovinany

How We Protect Lemurs And Other Wildlife

By improving living standards for communities in Madagascar through training in ecotourism and sustainable livelihoods we are working to reduce poverty and the need for overconsumption of natural forest resources to meet urgent needs. This in turn helps to prevent lemur habitat destruction and degradation as a result of overconsumption.

How We Support Local Communities

We provide training for the community to improve the quality of Madagascar’s tourism workforce. We hope to increase the number of skilled people involved in hospitality, tourism, and tour guiding to better align with international and sustainable standards. Our training is focused on improving language skills, cross-cultural communication and other tourism-related competencies so that people are brought out of poverty by work in tourism, and value sustainable environmental practices.

We achieve this goal through initiatives that:

  • Contribute to environmental protection through eco clubs which promote sustainable practices amongst communities
  • Encourage local people to tackle deforestation
  • Use tourism to provide people with means of escaping the heavy dependence on threatened natural resources.
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LEEP- University of Arizona

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About the Laboratory for the Evolutionary Endocrinology of Primates (LEEP)

Adult male red-bellied lemur Atody with infant Ovy, showing off an example of allomaternal care. Photo by Pierre Lahitsara, as part of a face recognition project.

Adult male red-bellied lemur Atody with infant Ovy, showing off an example of allomaternal care. Photo by Pierre Lahitsara, as part of a face recognition project.

Our program generally focuses on primate research and conservation, with a focus on lemurs. We are concerned with how lemurs negotiate survival and reproduction in dynamic environments. The majority of our research is conducted with red-bellied lemurs (Eulemur rubriventer), but we are also involved in research with other species, such as the brown mouse lemur (Microcebus rufus), Milne-Edwards sifaka (Propithecus edwardsi), and Diademed sifaka (Propithecus diadema).

Most work is conducted in Ranomafana National Park in southeastern Madagascar, but we also do work at Kianjavato and Tsinjoarivo with our collaborators.

Engaging with the local community

We engage directly with community members in several ways. We hire local experts to help us conduct our research. We train students and locals without formal education in scientific principles and date collection.

We collaborate with researchers and Centre ValBio staff on grant proposals and research. And we communicate our research at all stages through disseminating publications, giving presentations to officials, tourism guides, faculty, and students, and co-mentoring students.

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