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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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Institute of Zoology, University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover (TiHo)

University of Hanover

What We Do

Eulemur fulvus, Ankarafantsika National Park (photo: E. Zimmermann)

Eulemur fulvus, Ankarafantsika National Park (photo: E. Zimmermann)

At The Institute of Zoology at the University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover we help protect lemurs through on-the-ground research, capacity building, and captive management.

The working group “Lemur conservation Biology” from the Institute of Zoology has worked in the Ankarafantsika National Park (135,000 ha park) since 1995 and in the Mariarano forest since 2003. The Ankarafantsika National Park comprises the largest remaining patch of continuous dry deciduous forest in northwestern Madagascar and is therefore of utmost importance for the preservation of the remaining biodiversity.

How We Protect Lemurs And Other Wildlife

The Institute of Zoology in Hannover undertakes cutting edge research on lemurs both inside and outside Madagascar. One of our major aims is to increase understanding of how nocturnal lemurs have adapted and evolved in their respective environments.

In particular, the Institute studies the patterns, evolution, and consequences of differences between species in their behavior, bioacoustics, ecology, and susceptibility for diseases. Combining this knowledge with an understanding of how habitat needs and habitat fragmentation impact the genetic diversity of populations,it is possible to evaluate the changes for long-term survival of these populations.

In addition to our work in the field, the Institute of Zoology also leads the ex situ management of Goodman’s mouse lemur (Microcebus lehilahytsara), and keep one of only two breeding colonies worldwide for this species.

What Lemur Species We Protect

In the Ankarafantsika National Park, our work impacts:

  • Coquerel’s sifaka (Propithecus coquereli)
  • Milne-Edwards sportive lemurs (Lepilemur edwardsi)
  • Western woolly lemurs (Avahi occidentalis)
  • Golden-brown mouse lemurs (Microcebus ravelobensis), described by the Institute in 1998
  • Mongoose lemurs (Eulemur mongoz)
  • Grey mouse lemurs (Microcebus murinus)
  • Fat-tailed dwarf lemurs (Cheirogaleus medius)
  • Brown lemurs (Eulemur fulvus)

How We Support Local Communities

Species and habitat conservation cannot be achieved without involving the Malagasy community and their active participation in decision-making processes. As a prerequisite, any conservation initiative must therefore aim to strengthen local knowledge and to raise responsibility for the unique biodiversity of Madagascar.

Since 1995, the Institute of Zoology has established a series of collaboration contracts with Malagasy authorities including the University of Antananarivo (Department of Zoology), the University of Mahajanga (Biology Department), and Madagascar National Parks (MNP). These are key to the long-term success of the programs and to build capacity in Madagascar for lemur conservation.

Specifically, the Institute aims to:

  1. jointly perform research projects and publish scientific results with Malagasy collaborators
  2. improve access of Malagasy partners to scientific results from the international research community
  3. provide institutional support for Malagasy universities and collaborators
  4. increase scientific networking with Malagasy colleagues
  5. support and mentor Malagasy students, postdocs, and researchers
  6. contribute to local capacity building of students and local field assistants
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Planet Madagascar

What We Do

Planet MadagascarHere at Planet Madagascar we support lemur conservation in northwest Madagascar through focused outreach and education programming.

We undertake lemur conservation efforts in and around the Ankarafantsika National Park, in northwestern Madagascar. These are primarily focused in three communities: Ambarindahy, Maevatanimbary, and Andranohobaka.

The organization very purposefully implements one project at a time, at a relatively small scale, so that we can work with the three communities on an ongoing basis. Over the next few years, Planet Madagascar will focus on conservation education, fire management, and community livelihoods programs.

In the future, we aim to expand outside of the three communities. We are working hard to seek funding through grants and private donations to fund our projects.

How We Protect Lemurs And Other Wildlife

We work with local communities to help preserve and replenish remaining habitat for lemurs and other wildlife. There are two key areas:

Fire Management

Planet Madagascar works with local community members, including national park staff, to find and implement realistic solutions to bush fires, one of the major threats affecting lemurs in the park. Local residents burn grasses near forest to improve grazing zones for cattle, but fires also accidentally burn forest.

Planet Madagascar staff.

Planet Madagascar staff.

We are working with the community to implement a fire management strategy while contributing to improving the livelihood of people living in the communities. This strategy will provide employment for local residents and also mitigate fire risk for lemurs and their habitat.

Reforestation

We work to cultivate and plant new trees in Ankarafantsika National Park. We focus on two types of restoration: restoring fragmented landscapes to create corridors that connect existing fragments to continuous forest, and erosion control through forest restoration where we plant trees to reduce the impact of erosion.

We hire and train local community members to work with our on-the-ground Planet Madagascar staff members to identify target plant species, collect seeds, build and manage tree nurseries, and plant seedlings. Community members benefit through a salary-based program, thereby providing them with much-needed revenue and by receiving the direct benefits of erosion control through forest restoration.

What Lemur Species We Protect

Planet Madagascar
Planet Madagascar’s work in and around the Ankarafantsika National Park in northwestern Madagascar currently impacts the following lemur species:

  • Coquerel’s sifaka (Propithecus coquereli)
  • Western woolly lemur (Avahi occidentalis)
  • Mongoose lemur (Eulemur mongoz)
  • Common brown lemur (Eulemur fulvus)
  • Gray mouse lemur (Microcebus murinus)
  • Golden-brown mouse lemur (Microcebus ravelobensis)
  • Milne-Edward’s sportive lemur (Lepilemur edwardsi)
  • Fat-tailed dwarf lemur (Cheirogaleus medius)

How We Support Local Communities

Local people are involved at all stages of Planet Madagascar’s projects, as one of the goals of the organization is to develop capacity in Madagascar. Before implementing any project, Planet Madagascar holds stakeholder meetings with community members to facilitate open discussion about the challenges faced by conservation efforts, and to work out collaborative solutions and action plans. Then, while programs are being implemented, relevant members of the community are trained to manage and continue the programs. We endeavor to provide local communities with the tools they need to continue the work and educate themselves about the importance of the conservation projects.

Conservation Education and Community Livelihoods

In September 2014, Planet Madagascar completed a livelihoods survey, speaking with 213 community members in their three target communities. Preliminary results revealed that over 70% of the people did not have knowledge of the different lemur species in their region, and few people were aware of the benefits that lemurs provide to forest ecosystems. For example, in one village, only 8% of people were aware that lemurs disperse seeds. We found that people’s livelihoods depend on the national park and its resources. For example approximately 70% of the respondents stated that their livelihoods depend mostly on the park for food, water, and economic activities.

These results underline the importance of implementing education and development programs in these communities and serve as a baseline dataset that allows Planet Madagascar to measure the impact of projects and education initiatives.

Lambas for Lemurs
Planet MadagascarLambas for Lemurs, was funded by Primate Conservation, Inc. and the Rufford Foundation and began in April 2015. Its goal is to raise awareness about lemurs and their role in the survival of the entire ecosystem. To implement this program, Planet Madagascar created an education toolkit that consists of guidelines and activities for adult leader training sessions, children’s educational programming, and adult educational programming. To reinforce the conservation message, we printed lambas (Malagasy clothes similar to a sarong) and gave them to participants. Lambas are traditionally a culturally relevant medium of knowledge transfer. On each lamba we printed a scene depicting lemurs living in forest alongside people, and a message that states in the local dialect of Malagasy that “a healthy forest has lemurs.”

Women’s Cooperative
In 2017 we helped create a new women’s cooperative focused on sustainable agroforestry and forest restoration. We plan to expand from sustainable agroforestry and forest restoration to other projects including sanitation, women’s health, and education.

Educational Documentary
Planet MadagascarAlong with renowned wildlife filmmaker, Chris Scarffe, Planet Madagascar gathered footage for an educational documentary, aimed at a Malagasy audience. Using Ankarafantsika National Park as a case study, the aim is to create a film that highlights issues related to human-wildlife interactions in Madagascar and illustrate why a healthy ecosystem is beneficial to both humans and nature. This will help facilitate dialogue in the local communities in a way that helps people understand how their actions have direct impacts on the surrounding wildlife and ultimately on their own livelihoods.

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Eden Reforestation Projects

Eden Reforestation Projects logo.

Eden Reforestation Projects

What We Do

Eden Reforestation Projects’ mission is to alleviate extreme poverty through environmental stewardship. Every year Eden Reforestation Projects employs thousands of villagers in Madagascar, Ethiopia, Haiti, and Nepal to plant millions of native tree species resulting in the alleviation of extreme poverty and the restoration of healthy forest systems.

Eden Reforestation Projects has been working in Madagascar since 2007, and our efforts have resulted in the planting of over 77 million dry deciduous and mangrove trees in Madagascar alone. Eden Reforestation Projects is the largest reforestation group in Madagascar, and we aim to plant billions, yes billions, of trees in Madagascar in the next decade.

How We Protect Lemurs And Other Wildlife

common brown lemur

A common brown lemur.

Habitat destruction is one of the main threats to lemurs in Madagascar; some studies estimate that over 80% of vegetation in the country has been degraded or destroyed. At Eden Reforestation Projects we’re working to combat this: 77 million trees were planted across Madagascar between 2007 and 2014. The organization is focusing its reforestation efforts in Madagascar around eight western Malagasy villages. In addition, we partner with one national park (Ankarafantsika), one university (Mahajanga), and one hotel resort with a private forest reserve (Antsanitia).

Mangroves

At Eden we’ve been working to rehabilitate mangrove estuaries in Madagascar since 2007. These habitats are critical to overall ecosystem health (combating erosion and improving ocean health) and also provide habitat for several mouse lemur species. In addition, healthy mangrove forests are green pathways for larger lemur species to cross from one patch of dry deciduous forest to another. Through our clearance, propagule collecting and planting work Mahajanga now has a healthy mangrove forest.

Dry Deciduous Reforestation Projects

IMG_6940In 2012, we expanded our reforestation work to dry deciduous forests. The overwhelming majority of the tree species grown here are endemic to Madagascar’s western regions, and virtually all of the species grown are native and essential to lemur species that inhabit these forests. Our main lemur habitat partner is Ankarafantsika National Park, which has a full nursery operating within the confines of the National Park and is home to eight endangered lemur species.

Fire prevention

Fire is the primary threat to all reforestation efforts in Madagascar, so we protect our reforestation sites by surrounding them with fire breaks and by hiring emergency fire prevention crews.

What Lemur Species We Protect

With the dry deciduous reforestation project our work is helping protect species present at Ankarafantsika National Park, including:

  • Coquerel’s sifaka (Propithecus coquereli)
  • Mongoose lemur (Eulemur mongoz)
  • Brown lemur (Eulemur fulvus)
  • Grey mouse lemur (Microcebus murinus)
  • Golden-brown mouse lemur (Microcebus ravelobensis)
  • Fat-tailed dwarf lemur (Cheirogaleus medius)
  • Western woolly lemur (Avahi occidentalis)
  • Milne-Edwards’s sportive lemur (Lepilemur edwardsi)

How We Support Local Communities

IMG_6949Eden Reforestation Projects believes in holistic community development, including assisting with the construction of schools, fresh water wells, and some medical services. In addition, Eden Reforestation Projects partners with local communities to provide employment opportunities as tree planters and forest guards. These partnerships initially began with the “Employ to Plant” approach to habitat restoration, which pays thousands of people across multiple developing countries, including Madagascar, to plant trees.

Sustainability of programming

NCS_8591At Eden we take a diverse approach to sustainability, which begins with the establishment of legal agreements with the local, regional, and national government agencies that authorize the reforestation efforts and include preserving the restored forests in perpetuity. Further, Eden is partnered with Mahajanga University and has an agreement with the Ankarafantsika National Park, where we seek to educate the communities with the goal of preserving the forests and local lemur populations.

Fruit orchards and fuel-efficient stoves

We know that reforestation projects are only impactful if other programs are instituted to help the local communities refrain from cutting those new forests back down. Therefore, we have also planted fruit trees as well as trees that can be used in construction. These are beneficial to the local villagers and ensure that their physical and financial needs are accounted for. In addition, in each of the villages, fuel-efficient stoves and/or solar-stoves have been provided, which have largely led to a significant decrease in charcoal production and use in the areas Eden serves.

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