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Madagascar Biodiversity Partnership (MBP)

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Madagascar Biodiversity Partnership

What We Do

Madagascar Biodiversity Partnership Dr. Louis, Shelia Holmes and Varecia_ HHamilton

Dr. Louis and Sheila Holmes collecting data from a lemur.

At Madagascar Biodiversity Partnership (MBP) we work with communities on comprehensive research and conservation programming.

MBP was founded in 2010 by Dr. Edward E. Louis Jr., Director of Conservation Genetics at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium (OHDZA) who has been working in Madagascar since 1998. Here at MBP we strive to protect local forests for the lemurs while sustainably raising the standard of living for communities who are equally reliant upon the natural resources. Believing that everything is connected, or “Mampifandray ny tontolo”, MBP incorporates research, education and community involvement to achieve sustainability.

How We Protect Lemurs And Other Wildlife

Research and Lemur Monitoring

Madagascar Biodiversity Partnership Baby Lepilemur septentrionalis_EE Louis Jr

A baby Lepilemur septentrionalis being examined.

At MBP we have pioneering research on the northern sportive lemurs, whose populations are incredibly small (less than 50 individuals remaining) and who cannot be kept in captivity. In addition, and together with the Malagasy government, we have helped re-establish the diademed sifaka and the black-and-white ruffed lemur to their historical ranges in the Analamazoatra Special Reserve.These populations are now monitored by our team year-round. Finally, we use radio collars and other innovative technology to track lemur populations; this helps increase understanding of how different species use different types of habitat and how conservation programs can effectively protect lemurs in the future.

Reforesting Habitat

We are proud to help lead reforestation efforts in Madagascar, and undertake programming in west (Andasibe, Kianjavato) and southern Madagascar (Lavavolo). We also undertake reforestation initiatives in the areas where it is working to distribute fuel-efficient cook stoves in northern Madagascar.

Madagascar Biodiversity Partnership Nore teaching planting techniques_HHamilton

Teaching planting techniques in rural Madagascar.

Our largest reforestation programming is based in Kianjavato and is called the Education Promoting Reforestation Project (EPRP). This program’s success is based on the fact that seeds which have passed through a lemur’s intestinal tract grow better than seeds that haven’t. By collecting the seeds in lemur poop, we’ve been able to plant over 6 million trees!

This program, and the associated community education and outreach efforts, have been so successful that they were featured on National Public Radio in the United States and in other media outlets worldwide.

What Lemur Species We Protect

MBP works across the country to support research and outreach related to several different lemur species, including:

Madagascar Biodiversity Partnership Prolemur simus eating bamboo_ BEnyart

Prolemur simus eating some bamboo.

  • Aye aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis)
  • Black-and-white ruffed lemurs (Varecia variegata)
  • Crowned lemur (Eulemur coronatus)
  • Diademed sifaka (Propithecus diadema)
  • Greater bamboo lemur (Prolemur simus
  • Northern sportive lemur (Lepilemur septentrionalis)
  • Ring-tailed lemur (Lemur catta)

How We Support Local Communities

Madagascar Biodiversity Partnership Member of Single mothers Club planting trees_HHamilton

A member of Single Mothers Club planting trees.

Madagascar has a young and growing population that is increasingly reliant upon the country’s dwindling natural resources. Despite the precarious conditions, there is room for hope. The MBP has initiated multiple community-based conservation efforts and development plans designed to rebalance the relationship between people and the ecosystem; many of our community outreach efforts are conducted together with Conservation Fusion.

Fuel-efficient cook stoves

In partnership with the Omaha Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium and with Conservation Fusion, MBP is undertaking work to reduce the use of charcoal in some areas of Madagascar. Charcoal production, which causes large areas of forest to be cut down in Madagascar and is often unsustainable, is a big threat to lemur populations. We have distributed over 100 fuel-efficient cooking stoves and supplements these with hands-on education programs and reforestation initiatives.

Aquaponics development

Aquaponics is a sustainable food production method that combines techniques used to raise fish for food and hydroponics methods for growing plants in liquid mediums. Properly balanced aquaponics systems can provide large amounts of food, which is important in areas of Madagascar where families are food insecure, meaning, in areas where families do not have access to the food that they need, when they need it. We’ve partnered with a Omaha-based aquaponics nonprofit to undertake pilot programs which will help fine-tune the implementation of this type of equipment on-the-ground in Madagascar.

Capacity building

Madagascar Biodiversity Partnership EPP Kianjavato students with trees_HHamilton

Students from the Kianjavato public school students with trees.

As part of our ongoing research programs, over 50 Malagasy doctorate and graduate students, 30 Malagasy undergraduate students, and 10 international students have received considerable training in research methods and conservation paradigms. For example, through the MBP’s role in helping to re-establish lemur populations in the Analamazoatra Special Reserve, students and local communities have received training on how to monitor these new populations and how re-establishment programs must be designed in order to be successful.

In addition, we support 80+ full-time Malagasy employees as field assistants, project supervisors, office employees, and supporting staff members.

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Mad Dog Initiative

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The Mad Dog Initiative

What We Do

Mad Dog team members in Madagascar.

The Mad Dog Initiative is working to protect and conserve the biodiversity of Madagascar through a targeted feral and domestic dog spay/neuter, vaccination, removal, and adoption program.

In addition to this targeted program, we are conducting photographic sampling (camera trapping) of carnivore populations and lemur transect sampling to evaluate the effectiveness of this dog control program. Further, we are modeling the interactions between feral and domestic dogs and a host of endemic carnivore and lemur species.

To address the ultimate causes of why dogs go feral in Madagascar and to improve our understanding of the role of dogs in households and villages across Madagascar, we are conducting expansive household surveys and questionnaires.

How We Support Local Communities

Dr. Zoavina Randriana greets a cat owner eager to get her furry friend vaccinated. Photo: Mad Dog Initiative.

Photo credit: Mad Dog Initiative

Our project consists of a number of collaborations among US, Canadian, and Malagasy researchers, students, and veterinarians.

Our research project currently employs:

  • two Malagasy veterinarians,
  • one Malagasy veterinarian student,
  • two Malagasy researchers,
  • up to four local guides, and
  • one US field technician.

As the result of our success in promoting and developing consideration for the human treatment and conservation of wildlife, we were awarded with the Virginia McKenna award from Compassionate Conservation and the Born Free organization.

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