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Zazamalala Foundation

Zazamalala Foundation logo

The Zazamalala Foundation protects the dry deciduous forest of western Madagascar through reforestation, community development, captive breeding, and forest monitoring.

Sign for the Zazamalala Forest along the Route Nationale 35. Photo: Zazamalala Foundation.

What We Do

The Zazamalala forest was established in 2000 when blind Simon Rietveld returned after 30 years to the Morondava area in West Madagascar. He was shocked that most of the dry forest had been cleared. So, Simon and a team of international volunteers, together with paid local people, planted thousands of seedlings of rare species that once lived in the area. Gradually, the Zazamalala forest started to flourish.

Just 30 minutes by car from the Morondova airport, Zazamalala is an oasis of wilderness alongside small villages and rice fields. It provides the habitat for many animals, including lemurs, fossa, bush pigs, mongoose, snakes, and chameleons, and a huge variety of plants. At the Zazamalala botanical garden, we collect thousands of seeds and use them for reforestation. Zazamalala also houses a tortoise and turtle breeding centre.

What Lemur Species We Protect

Verreaux’s sifaka. Photo: Zazamalala Foundation.

The following lemur species can be found at Zazamalala.

  • Verreaux’s sifaka (Propithecus verreauxi)
  • Greater bamboo lemur (Prolemur simus)
  • Ring-tailed lemur (Lemur catta)
  • Red-fronted brown lemur (Eulemur rufifrons)
  • White-fronted brown lemur (Eulemur albifrons)
  • Fat-tailed dwarf lemur (Cheirogaleus medius)
  • Madame Berthe’s mouse lemur (Microcebus berthae)
  • Grey mouse lemur (Microcebus murinus)
  • Coquerel’s giant mouse lemur (Mirza coquereli)
  • Western fork-Marked dwarf lemur (Phaner pallescens)
  • Red-tailed sportive lemur (Lepilemur ruficaudatus)

How We Protect Lemurs and Other Wildlife

Reforestation

We are working to reforest a 30 km long and 1 to 3 hectares wide green corridor that will combine two isolated nature reserves: Mena Be and Zazamalala nature reserves. This corridor will allow animals to mingle, which is essential for genetic diversity. Thanks to our donors, Zazamalala forest was substantially enlarged between 2019-2021. We continually reforest and add more hectares of land, making more habitat for animals on the edge of extinction.

Turtle Breeding Program

The critically endangered Flat-tail Tortoise. Photo: Zazamalala Foundation.

In the Zazamalala botanical garden, we breed two critically endangered turtles.

The critically endangered Flat-tail Tortoise (Pyxis planicauda) lives in a small part of the dry deciduous forest of west Madagascar. The last remaining males and females rarely meet and when they do, the female produces only a single egg per year. In the Zazamalala botanical garden, we keep many males and females together to maximize encounters and release the young after two years.

The critically endangered Madagascar Big-headed Turtle (Erymnochelys madagascariensis) lived for millions of years in the rivers and lakes of west Madagascar. At Zazamalala we breed them in large semi-natural containers, and release the young after one year.

In 2020, 43 critically endangered newborn Big-head turtles and Flat-tail tortoises were released in the forest and its ponds.

How We Support Local Communities

The Zazamalala concept for nature protection and reforestation encompasses a wholistic approach, including protection of animals and plants, and involving the local people. Photo: Zazamalala Foundation.

Apart of reforestation and breeding of endangered animals, community development is a prime issue. This means giving as many local people as possible paid work in the forest so they can be economically independent.

Education

In the villages around Zazamalala, education is limited and people have no electricity, bicycles, or books. We support education by repairing schools and constructing latrines and school desks.  We also organize activities to help people learn to write and speak French, which is important to find work.

Health and Development

We improve roads and constructs water pumps to provide the local community with clean drinking water. Zazamalala distributes ADES solar cookers to help families reduce their need for fuelwood and charcoal from the forest.

In 2020, 85 solar cookers were distributed to local families. Another 100 cookers were distributed in 2021.

The forests of west Madagascar are among the most threatened habitats in the world – only 3% remains.

We restore wilderness and support the people living around it. You can help!

Visit Zazamala’s Website

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Wildlife Conservation Society

WCS saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature.

Supporting lemur conservation in Makira National Park

Wildlife Conservation Society 3The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature. In Madagascar, WCS undertakes conservation in and around the perimeter of the Marika National Park in northeast Madagascar, where they partner with local communities to ensure lasting conservation success.

What Lemur Species does WCS Protect?

All of WCS’s conservation actions aim to contribute to the protection of lemur species found in the park. Activities include a comprehensive field-based system of surveillance, law enforcement monitoring and ecological monitoring; restoration and maintenance of critical forestry corridors; research into habitats and species found in the zone; and strengthening of the Government’s ability to manage and enforce forest and marine resource use regulations. WCS and its partners strive to develop the landscape as a model for resource conservation and biodiversity protection through better land stewardship linked to improved livelihoods.

Wildlife Conservation Society 1More than 15 species of lemurs are known in the Makira Natural Park in Northeastern Madagascar. Seven of them are included in WCS’ Makira Project conservation targets:

  • Black-and-white ruffed lemur (Varecia variegata subcincta)
  • Red ruffed lemur (Varecia rubra)
  • Indri (Indri indri)
  • Red bellied lemur (Eulemur rubriventer)
  • White-fronted brown lemur (Eulemur albifrons)
  • Common brown Lemur (Eulemur fulvus)
  • Silky Sifaka (Propithecus candidus)

Ecological Monitoring of diurnal lemurs in Makira Natural Park

Ecological monitoring of lemurs is conducted annually at the Makira National Park in collaboration with the local communities. The aim is to detect any changes in the populations of these 7 species; data on lemur abundances, on habitat health, and threats facing biodiversity are collected and analyzed to show the possible variations in lemur populations and help target conservation programming. In parallel with this ecological monitoring, WCS Madagascar collaborates with international and national researchers to enrich bio-ecological information on lemurs through various methods including surveys and genetic analysis. Lastly, in collaboration with GERP Association, WCS helped discover a new species of mouse lemur in this region in 2009.

Participatory Conservation of Silky Sifaka (Propithecus candidus) in Makira Natural Park

Wildlife Conservation SocietySince 2005, in collaboration with international and national researchers, WCS has carried out extensive research on the Silky sifaka, a critically endangered lemur species in northeastern Madagascar. In addition, this program aims to:

  • Adopt a practical conservation action plan for the Silky Sifaka that is based upon participatory conservation measures;
  • Use baseline data on Silky Sifaka abundance, distribution and threats to identify priority conservation actions for inclusion in a conservation action plan;
  • Gain community and authority consensus on conservation action plan;
  • Develop and implement a synchronized ranger and community ecological monitoring network in Makira Natural Park;
  • Develop and implement a community ecological monitoring network.

This program will also have a community development component, which will involve education and awareness raising programs. In addition, WCS hopes to integrate Silky sifaka conservation in community ecotourism activities that generate economic benefits for the local community. For example, the organization has developed an eco-lodge and and partnerships with private tourism operators. The possibility of observing the Silky Sifaka is a key attraction of the site so it provides a tangible opportunity to generate economic benefits for the community resulting from the conservation of this species.

Partnering with Local Communities

Wildlife Conservation Society 2WCS works hard to ensure the sustainability of their programming, as there are clear links between improved livelihoods, improved land stewardships, and resource conservation. To achieve this, WCS engages with local communities to build their capacity as effective stewards of their natural resources and to ensure that they derive benefits from the natural resources though promotion of community-based ecotourism and nature based product enterprises, improved agriculture, reinforced governance, and market access.

Partnerships are established through the transfer of forest management to local communities. Communities are also involved in patrolling and ecological monitoring. In addition, WCS has trained dozens of local community teams to assist in their data collection programs, thereby increasing the capacity of communities to monitor local biodiversity and ecosystems.

WCS is developing a network of community based natural resources management sites in the form of a ‘green belt’ around the protected areas. WCS provides support to communities to improve sustainable management of natural resources through diversification of livelihood options and activities to improve human health and welfare. Finally, WCS is taking a leadership role to secure the area’s financial future, and has developed partnerships with the private sector in the sale of carbon credits from avoided deforestation, ecotourism, and wildlife friendly products.

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CPALI: Conservation through Poverty Alleviation International

CPALI logo.

Conservation through Poverty Alleviation International

What We Do

Conservation through Poverty Alleviation International (CPALI) is an international NGO dedicated to a community-centered approach to conservation. Instead of building boundaries, CPALI focuses on strengthening the existing relationship between people and the environment through the development of sustainable livelihoods.

CPALI helps impoverished communities farm and transform native resources to create sustainable enterprises that benefit both people and ecosystems. In Madagascar, the organization works hand-in-hand with SEPALI, an independently-registered Malagasy NGO (2009) in charge of program implementation.

How We Protect Lemurs And Other Wildlife

New cocoon.CPALI works in northeastern Madagascar along the borders of the largest remaining protected area in the country. There, CPALI works with a network of subsistence farmers to cultivate endemic resources and secure a market for their products. Thanks to CPALI’s work, farmers are now planting endemic trees in former clear-cut zones, intercropping trees with edible plants, raising native silkworms to produce silk, using insects as a protein source, and investigating the production of edible mushrooms. The result is a native ecosystem of production which contributes to forest buffer zones near the parks, supports rural farmers, and mitigates the need for bush meat and resource extraction.

Today, CPALI works with a rapidly growing network of farmers’ groups representing 13 communities and over 350 farmers. Together, their participants have planted over 30,000 native trees, raised their average annual household income by over 50%, and are gradually assuming management of the project. Ultimately, CPALI hopes to achieve a sustainable and independent farmer cooperative in Madagascar.

What Lemur Species We Protect

CPALI/SEPALI work to engage communities in the northeastern regions of Madagascar, especially in the perimeter areas surrounding the Makira Protected Area and the Masoala National Park. Some of the lemur species found in these areas, include:

  • Aye-aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis)
  • Red-ruffed lemurs (Varecia rubra)
  • White-fronted brown lemurs (Eulemur albifrons)

How We Support Local Communities

Preparing tree nurseries.CPALI’s greatest strength is that it utilizes resources that are already present: endemic species, local leadership, and community networks. CPALI/SEPALI Malagasy staff manage on-the-ground projects and hire lead farmers in each community to serve as their local liaisons, trainers, and model farmers. These lead farmers, both men and women, are elected by their communities and are intimately involved in program direction, strategy, and implementation.

Prior to implementation, all CPALI/SEPALI projects are evaluated by the community members who would be engaged in the project if it were implemented. In addition, projects undergo scientific evaluation to examine how they will have an impact on the health of the protected area, soil quality, and recovered habitats. Together, these assessments help CPALI evaluate their successes, learn from their mistakes, and make adjustments in policy to better reach their goals.

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