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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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Association Mitsinjo

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Association Mitsinjo


What We Do

Association Mitsinjo was created in 1999 by the residents of Andasibe village in central Madagascar to cater to the growing number of tourists visiting the region. At Association Mitsinjo we work for the conservation of biodiversity and the sustainable development of the Andasibe region (central Madagascar) and beyond. This involves managing the forest station at the Analamazoatra Special Reserve, located next to the Andasibe-Mantadia National Park.

How We Protect Lemurs And Other Wildlife

One of the Indris.

One of the Indri lemurs!

Association Mitsinjo has been managing the forest station at Analamazoatra Special Reserve since 2003, and we have a contract to manage this program until 2037. We aim to preserve and restore 700 hectares of rainforest in this region into pristine lemur habitat.

To date, logging and hunting using snares has almost stopped completely in this area. In addition, by the end of 2022 we have aleady restored almost 500 hectares using native trees grown in the Association’s nurseries. As a result, Indri populations have increased and the area has become a highlight for tourists visiting Madagascar.

Prolemur simus research.

A Greater Bamboo Lemur (Prolemur simus) being held by a researcher.

What Lemur Species We Protect

More than 11 species of lemurs are known to inhabit the two protected areas managed by Association Mitsinjo. The following species are the focus of several Association Mitsinjo programs:

  • Black-and-white ruffed lemur (Varecia variegata)
  • Greater bamboo lemur (Prolemur simus)
  • Indri (Indri indri)

How We Support Local Communities

As a community-based Malagasy conservation organization, all of our members are from the local community. To facilitate sustainable use of habitat, we have established a long-term management contract for our rainforest site. Preservation of this area, for both people and lemurs, form the core of our sustainability strategy.

We have engaged in a variety of social development and capacity building programs for local communities, including:

  • The construction of a primary school
  • Community-based monitoring of lemurs, birds, and frogs
  • Promotion of ecotourism and novel agricultural techniques
  • The establishment of a lemur research camp
Children planting rainforest trees.

Children planting rainforest trees. Photo: Association Mitsinjo.

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Photography Inspiring Children in Conservation

Photography Inspiring Children in Conservation

What We Do

PICC 2020 students from Ambodiforaha, Masoala,
Madagascar. Photo by Pascal Elison

Our organisation Photography Inspiring Children in Conservation (PICC) is based on the concept of engaging with the natural world through visual arts. Our goal is to inspire Malagasy students to become lemur conservation leaders within their communities by providing them with knowledge of lemur ecology, as well as local conservation issues and solutions. Malagasy students gain skills in photography, illustration, and storytelling, providing an effective foundation upon which they may seek conservation-oriented careers. PICC was designed with a goal of building local capacity for sustainable conservation through educating and empowering both students and the broader community, including local teachers and elders.

The act of creating an image with photography or sketching rewires us to be truly present and see details and beauty on a deeper level of appreciation.

~Kathy West, PICC Director

How We Protect Lemurs And Other Wildlife

Over a two-week period, Malagasy students use customized coloring and activity books, worksheets, field journals, and DSLR cameras to document their local forests and develop scientifically accurate stories and illustrations.
They are encouraged to develop unique lemur conservation ideas, making contributions to their communities using their new skills. A village-wide gathering at the completion of the project celebrates the students’ works and recognizes participants as “Forest Ambassadors”. Equipment remains onsite, accessible to the students and teachers for sustained learning, career development, and conservation work. About 3,000 tourists visit Masoala National Park (NP) per year. One of our goals is to give Malagasy students the opportunity to develop the skills needed to have future careers in ecotourism and conservation, improving their own lives while also protecting lemurs and their habitats.

It is important to foster the development of skills for conservation job opportunities because research has shown that Malagasy people who are involved in ecotourism, and earn their income from sharing wildlife experiences with visitors, will not hunt lemurs and will discourage others from doing so. At the same time, providing training and employability skills to Malagasy students improves livelihoods.

What Lemur Species We Protect

We began our program in June 2020 with the students in the village of Ambodiforaha in northeast Madagascar, adjacent to the stunningly beautiful Masoala National Park, an area rich in biodiversity. This National Park and UNESCO World Heritage site protects as much as 40% of Madagascar’s mammalian diversity. On the Masoala peninsula, 9 out of 10 species of lemurs present are vulnerable, endangered, or critically endangered, with the only remaining populations of some species found in this protected habitat.

PICC supports conservation of the following threatened lemur species in the Masoala NP and forest:

  • Red ruffed lemur (Varecia rubra) (Critically Endangered)
  • White-fronted brown lemur (Eulemur albifrons) (Endangered)
  • Scott’s sportive lemur (Lepilemur scottorum) (Endangered)
  • Moore’s woolly lemur (Avahi mooreorum) (Endangered)
  • Aye-aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis) (Endangered)
  • Hairy-eared dwarf lemur (Allocebus trichotis) (Vulnerable)
  • Masoala fork-marked lemur (Phaner furcifer) (Vulnerable)
  • Seal’s sportive lemur (Lepilemur seali) (Vulnerable)
  • Northern bamboo lemur (Hapalemur occidentalis) (Vulnerable)

How We Support Local Communities

Recognizing that this national park belongs to local communities and the Malagasy people, we aim to help children understand how to identify and maintain healthy ecosystems, as well as to understand the cultural, environmental and economic benefits of protecting lemur habitat.

Pascal Elison teaching PICC 2020 students from
Ambodiforaha, Masoala, Madagascar

Empowering Teachers and Community Elders in Education

In addition to focusing on children, the PICC program includes participation of teachers and elder leaders with traditional ecological knowledge, making the likelihood of program success much higher. This empowers the older community members who have extensive knowledge of native plants and animals and are related to many of the children in the program. Unlike teachers, these elders are seen as local leaders with ancestral ties to the land. This project acknowledges the importance of the Malagasy people’s place in their landscape. We are interested in learning from them, and in returning knowledge to the community through the workshops, books and posters of student writing, illustrations, and photographs. Participating teachers are expanding their knowledge base in order to educate other students and teachers in nearby villages.

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Oxford Brookes University

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Oxford Brookes University: Nocturnal Primate Research Group

What We Do

The critically endangered Madame Fleurette’s sportive lemur at Tsitongambarika Protected Area near Fort Dauphin. Photo: Marius Andriamorasata.

We are among the leading groups in charge of developing research and conservation in the recently established protected area of Tsitongambarika (south-east corner of Madagascar). No systematic research had been conducted before our arrival. It is considered one of the Lemur Action Plan priorities and one of the last large expanses of lowland rainforest left in Madagascar.

Studying the Activity of Cathemeral Lemurs

Since 1995, we have been studying the proximate and ultimate determinants of day-night activity (aka cathemeral activity) in true lemurs. This activity pattern is extremely rare among primates but common in lemurs, thus offering the unique opportunity to study the key transition between nocturnal and diurnal life during primate evolution.

Studying How Lemurs Respond to Changes in Food Availability and Habitat

A second main stream of our research is focusing on lemur response to change in food availability and habitat disturbance. Since most forested areas in Madagascar have been modified by humans, understanding how lemurs respond to habitat disturbance and/or how they cope with new habitats is urgent. This response is investigated at various levels including thermoregulation, activity and ranging pattern, diet composition and nutritional ecology.

Studying Lemurs in the South-eastern Literal Forest, Andasibe, and Sahamalaza

Since 1999, we have also studied the archipelago of fragments of the south-eastern littoral forest. And, members of our research groups have also studied the behavioural ecology of lemur species in Andasibe and Sahamalaza.

What Lemur Species We Study

Group of Red-fronted brown lemurs in Ranomafana

Group of Red-fronted brown lemurs (Eulemur rufifrons). Photo credit: Mariah Donohue.

The lemur species and field sites where we conducted our work on cathemeral activity are:

  • Collared brown lemur (Eulemur collaris) and Southern lesser bamboo lemur (Hapalemur meridionalis) in the littoral forests of Mandena and Sainte Luce (Fort Dauphin)
  • Ring-tailed lemur (Lemur catta) and Eulemur hybrids in the gallery forest of Berenty (Fort Dauphin)
  • Red-fronted lemur (Eulemur rufifrons) in the dry forest of Kirindy (Morondava)

Lemurs in the south-eastern littoral forest include:

  • Collared brown lemur (Eulemur collaris)
  • Southern lesser bamboo lemur (Hapalemur meridionalis)
  • Southern woolly lemur (Avahi meridionalis)
  • Dwarf lemurs (Cheirogaleus sp.)
  • Mouse lemurs (Microcebus sp.)

Members of our research groups have also studied the following lemur species in Andasibe and Sahamalaza, respectively:

  • Hairy-eared dwarf lemur (Allocebus trichotis)
  • Northern giant mouse lemur (Mirza zaza)
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