Top Nav

Archive | All Sifakas

Impact Madagascar

IMPACT Madagascar, a Malagasy NGO, was born from the idea that it is not possible to protect the environment without also considering the people who depend on its resources on a daily basis. Since its foundation in 2013, IMPACT Madagascar has been working with local communities to alleviate poverty and provide achievable and sustainable environmental protection through a variety of projects focusing on community health and development, biodiversity conservation, and environmental outreach.

How does Impact Madagascar work for lemur conservation?

Because of the inherent connectedness between poverty and biodiversity use and the mutually self-reinforcing nature of these links, addressing rural poverty and environmental degradation requires a holistic multidisciplinary approach in order to achieve successful sustained results.

Our goal is to protect and conserve Madagascar’s unique biodiversity while improving the lives of its people. We implement permanent change through collaboration with local people, creating a foundation on which we can build a better world. Our integrative approach to biodiversity conservation and development is reflected in our range of projects, from ecological conservation to training and education, from recycling to construction.

Working with local people, we develop strategies that promote conservation within the parameters of daily life. Adding a sense of sustainability is crucial in order to help people living in harmony with nature for their life and for future generations.

Where do you work?

We focus our work on five project sites, in five different locations: Ankirihitra (region Boeny), Madiromirafy (region Betsiboka), Mahajeby (region Bongolava), Dabolava (region Menabe), and Vohitrarivo (region V7V). Each of these rural sites is unique in their biodiversity and communities, but across these locations, our projects hold similar objectives. These include reforestation and ecological restoration, lemur and habitat monitoring, environmental outreach and practical environmental education, community development, community health, and community conservation.

IMPACT Madagascar’s Activities

Our activities focused on forest restoration include large-scale community reforestation events. During these events, community members come together and plant native forest and fast-growing tree species in the area. The saplings that are planted are produced by the communities themselves in tree nurseries on site. This reforestation continues to be successful and improve each year. In 2019, we produced and planted approximately 241,000 seedlings for future use.

Lemur and Habitat Monitoring

Our lemur and habitat monitoring includes periodic inventories of diurnal and nocturnal lemur populations located at our project sites. These focus mostly on the critically endangered mongoose lemur and crowned sifaka (though the surveys are inclusive of all lemurs in the area).

For example, the Sifaka Conservation program aims to save the fragmented forests across the four locations (along the central highlands and northwestern areas), in order to protect crowned sifaka populations and the remaining rare dry and gallery forests. Additionally, our team identifies and monitors the pressures and the threats that menace these lemur populations as well as their habitats. With this identification at each site, we can develop better strategies to combat these harmful actions and to prevent future destruction.

Conservation Education

Our conservation education projects constitute an important strategy to address threats to biodiversity and to ensure community participation and the sustainability of conservation actions. This environmental outreach includes awareness campaigns at both school and household levels. These include practical activities such as healthy living, water purification, waste management, and how to recycle various types of waste. Additionally, information sessions take place through multimedia presentations and focus on the fundamental roles of the forest, the causes of destruction and their impact on human life, biodiversity and conservation, environmental laws, the food web, wildlife, and its ecological role, and ecosystem services.

An important tool applied in our practical conservation education is the Pan African Conservation Education (PACE) resources; we are also the PACE representative for Madagascar.

Community Development

Additionally, to help improve the living conditions of the local population in conservation areas, we have many community development projects that aim to promote income-generating activities within these communities.

We work with the local people in order to increase their farming yield and agricultural production by monitoring and providing practical training in the use of modern farming techniques and improved breeding programs, as well as promoting other alternative sources of income. In addition, we also encourage the production and sale of local produce to boost income within communities. As well as providing a more secure and sustainable future, this approach also helps by reducing the damage which current practices cause to biodiversity and forests.

Establishment and Support of VOIs

Last but not least, community conservation is a particularly important focus within all our projects at IMPACT Madagascar. At each of our conservation sites, we have established local management committees, called VOIs. These committees help to manage the forests and patrols are run by local people to monitor threats such as illegal logging and poaching, while simultaneously engaging local people in the protection of their forests.

Community Health

Additionally, we work to provide community health initiatives to these rural communities and offer them resources and care they do not otherwise have access to. These activities vary across sites and include medical missions in collaboration with health organizations to provide treatment and medical care, sexual and reproductive health education, and raising awareness about the importance of hygiene and water purification.

Support Impact Madagascar

IMPACT Madagascar’s US branch manages donations. They are collected through their secure SquareSpace website at: http://impactmadagascar.org/support-us

All of our programs and project sites involve lemur conservation, so donations will always go towards lemur and environmental projects. Our programs dedicated specifically to lemurs are the Sifaka Conservation program and the bamboo lemur project in Vohitrarivo.

Continue Reading

Ny Tanintsika

“Against Poverty, for Nature”

What is the purpose of Ny Tanintsika?

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.

Which lemur species does Ny Tanintsika work with?

The Project targets 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)

Where does Ny Tanintsika work?

The project area comprises 32,000 ha of the COFAV (which totals 314,186 ha) and includes the rainforest of 4 municipalities:

  • To the east: Ambolomadinika, Antodinga and Ankarimbelo (Ikongo district, Vatovavy Fitovinany region)
  • To the west: Ambohimahamasina (Ambalavao district, Haute Matsiatra region)
  • It focuses on the areas around the 3 main footpaths crossing the rainforest corridor east-west.
    Furthest point north: 21°54’23.60″S, 47°14’30.48″E, south: 22° 5’46.19″S, 47°10’57.89″E
    Furthest point east: 21°56’32.78″S, 47°20’48.98″E, west: 22° 4’37.24″S, 47° 9’42.82″E

How does Ny Tanintsika work for lemur conservation?

Ny Tanintsika empowers COFAV communities to conserve lemurs through a multifaceted approach: building local capacity, addressing livelihoods concerns, and promoting stakeholder collaboration and communication.

Empowering Local Communities through Data Collection and Lemur Monitoring

Whilst focusing on Hapalemur Aureus species, it will enable the gathering of data on all primates in the previously unresearched forests of Ambohimahamasina and three neighbouring areas. Data collection on lemurs will be conducted by local stakeholders, and forest inhabitants will become lemur monitors to ensure project sustainability.

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

Sustainable Agriculture and Reforestation

Support will be given to forest inhabitants to make their lifestyles more sustainable. Agricultural production on deforested land will be 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 will be 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.

Project Objectives

By the end of the project:

  • 50% of forest dwellers will have lemur-friendly income generation activities and alternative sources of protein.
  • 60% reduction in Lemur hunting in target area of COFAV.
  • 45,000 endemic trees planted to meet lemur and human needs.
  • 10% boost in agricultural production on deforested land in the target area of COFAV.
  • 90% of people living in villages bordering the rainforest project area are aware of the uniqueness of local biodiversity and report an increased appreciation of lemurs by the end of the project.
  • 20% increase in secondary school enrollment for the northern project area zone for improved level of education for children who live in and near the rainforest.
  • No new human migration into the rainforest target zone, with the stabilisation of forest cover in the target area.
  • The capacity of 9 Community Forest Management associations is strengthened in management and governance, and particularly legislation.
  • Knowledge of lemurs in the project area covering 32,000 ha is improved.
  • Stakeholder collaboration and communication is improved through the piloting of a new approach and new technology to monitor forest cover in the Ambohimahamasina municipality.
  • Communities are empowered to take action toward securing land tenure around the target area.
Continue Reading

Marat Karpeka Lemur Foundation

The Marat Karpeka Lemur Foundation exists because more than 90% of lemur species are now facing extinction, making them the most threatened group of mammals on earth. MKLF hopes to lead the effort to save these remarkable creatures. We are committed to education of local people and the conservation of lemurs and their habitats.

Visit Website

What’s the story of the Marat Karpeka Lemur Foundation?

Essential to our organization are Marat Karpeka and Dr. Russell Mittermeier. Marat Karpeka is a successful entrepreneur who chose to give back through donating to various wildlife conservation organizations. Having a passion for lemurs, and wanting to do more, he founded the Marat Karpeka Lemur Foundation. Consulting with Dr. Russell Mittermeier, a world-renowned primatologist, MKLF is able to select the most efficient lemur projects with measurable results.

Photo by Scott Pollard

Which lemur species does Marat Karpeka Lemur Foundation work with?

  • Black blue-eyed lemur
  • Milne-Edwards sportive lemur
  • Crowned sifaka
  • And other endemic species to northwest region of Madagascar

Where does MKLF work?

MKLF works in northwestern Madagascar. They work closely with AEECL in Sahamalaza National Park.

How does Marat Karpeka Lemur Foundation work for lemur conservation?

Construction of a new school in Antafiabe village

The overall goal is to build the permanent school in the village Antafiabe, part of the Sahamalaza National Park. The building will include 2 rooms of 49 m² each and one separate toilet block. Each room will have one blackboard, one cupboard, one desk and one chair for the teacher.

We want to shift our focus to help the community. We believe that the community has the strongest impact on the environment. The school will be a cornerstone in educating the next generation so that they are more equipped in making a difference.

Antafiabe is the last village that leads to the Ankarafa forest that has a school. The village is dedicated to environment protection and has since been active in reforestation, creating of firebreaks, and hosting the lemur festival.

The building of the existing school that local villagers have been using is already old (around 50 years) and is unable to accommodate all the students and teachers. There are not enough tables and chairs for everyone in old school. During the rainy seasons classes are not being conducted because of the leaks if the roof. The new school will also motivate the teachers, who won’t need to worry that their lesson plans will be disrupted if classes get canceled.

We hope that you share our aspiration to see that these children become successful by getting to complete their education. This does not stop with the building but some help will be needed year on year to ease the burden and help children make their dreams a reality.

Community Partnerships and Sustainability

We work closely with our partner AEECL and more specifically project manager Guy Randriatahina. He’s been working in this area for a long time, so the local population trusts him and is willing to cooperate.

 

Donate

Please donate here! We can accept credit cards, which makes the donation process very easy for everyone around the globe. It’s quick and safe.

Continue Reading

Man and the Environment: Net Positive Impact Program

The main objective of Man and the Environment’s Net Positive Impact program is to ensure long-term forest and lemur conservation — and biodiversity conservation in general — through the involvement of local communities in management programs and economic activities in favor of the environment.

Net Positive Impact is a program of the Non-Governmental Organization Man and the Environment, a French organization that works in East and Northwest Madagascar.

What lemur species does Net Positive Impact protect?

Varecia Variegata from the Vohimana forest.

Net Positive Impact operates in three locations.

The Vohimana forest in the Mantadia – Zahamena:

  • Indri indri,
  • Propithecus diadema
  • Varecia variegata
  • Hapalemur griseus
  • Eulemur rubriventer
  • Eulemur fulvus
  • Microcebus lehilahytsara
  • Avahi laniger
  • lepilemur mustelinus
  • Cheirogaleus major
  • Daubentonia madagascariensis
  • Allocebus trichotis
  • Microcebus rufus

Indri Indri from the Vohimana forest

The Tsaramandroso community forest in the buffer zone of the Ankarafantsika National Park:

  • Propithecus coquereli
  • Lepilemur edwardsi
  • Avahi occidentalis
  • Microcebus ravelobensis
  • Eulemur mongoz
  • Microcebus murinus
  • Cheirogaleus medius
  • Eulemur fulvus

The Ambalakalanoro forest in the north-west coast: 

  • Propithecus verreauxi coquereli
  • Eulemur fulvus fulvus
  • Microcebus murinus
  • Cheirogaleus medius
  • Eulemur mongoz
  • Hapalemur griseus occidentalis
  • Phaner furcifer
  • Avali occidentalis
  • Lepilemur edwarsi

How does Net Positive Impact work for lemur conservation?

Habitat protection

As lemurs cannot survive when their natural habitat is in danger, Net Positive Impact works for habitat preservation and environmental conservation in the Vohimana, in the Tsaramandroso and the Ambalakalanoro forests by developing environmental programs. Our main actions are to make these sites “protected areas” to ensure their survival. We also monitor species registration, study their long-term acclimatization and take actions to promote their development in the zone, like reforestation and agro-forestry.

Eco-tourism

An infrastructure to develop ecotourism has been constructed in the Vohimana Forest, in order to raise awareness of locals and visitors about the site’s biodiversity. Visitors are encouraged to participate in monitoring species.

Learn more about Vohimina

Environmental policy

Promote approaches targeting sustainable lemur conservation through the design of management plans including local communities’ development and private sector involvement.

Key Projects in Madagascar

The Vohimana Project

The main objective is protecting the forest and wildlife by giving local populations lasting sources of income based on a management plan ensuring sustainable agriculture and conservation areas.

Net Positive Impact believes that no sustainable and lasting wildlife-saving orientated project can be achieved if local communities remain impoverished, as practices endangering forests and wildlife are the ones that often make locals survive.

Thus, Net Positive Impact started a global program comprising forest and wildlife protection and local communities living conditions improvement.

The Vohimana protected area project started in 2002 with the signature of an agreement transferring the management responsibility of the forest from the government to the NGO Man and the Environment for a renewable period of 25 years. The first step was to define the management plan, design the area for conservation and sustainable development purposes, and organize income generating activities for local communities and social improvement.

Eulemur Rubriventer from the Vohimana forest

The Vohimana project has four principal steps:

1. Securing the Vohimana forest for long-term conservation.

In the 2000’s, the Vohimana forest almost disappeared because of fires and burn-and-slash agriculture. To preserve this fragile ecosystem, the lemurs and other species living in it, the first capital step was to secure the forest.

Notable successes:

  • Man and the Environment was able to transform the Vohimana forest into a protected area in 2002, and it slowed down these dangerous practices. Research institutions (CIRAD) showed that forest cover loss was between 2002 and 2014 less important in Vohimana than the average in the national parks.
  • A local control forest committee has been organized with the aim to prevent traffic and fires.
  • A partnership has been made between biologists and universities, which allowed the beginning of an annual presence of scientists to launch a sustainable and regularly updated species’ population follow-up.

2. Ecotourism as a conservation tool.

The objective is to raise awareness about environment protection and to create a sustainable income source for the locals working on the project. Man and the Environment constructed an eco-shelter to welcome tourists and to secure the forest. In 2017, the infrastructure had been partly destructed by a cyclone.

Notable successes:

  • A basic infrastructure has been built and welcomed visitors on site for many years. Incomes were managed by a local association ran by people from the area who are the beneficiaries as well as guides.
  • A students & volunteers program has been put in place to train students in species monitoring and agroforestry management. Their presence in remote areas of the forest discourages risks of potential trafficking.

3. Sustainable agriculture productivity improvement.

The objective is to support environment-friendly agriculture to prevent slash-and-burn farming or other practices jeopardizing biodiversity. Net positive Impact started a program of ginger cultivation with 120 villagers around the forest. Likewise, a distillery of essential oil has been constructed and is managed by local workers. Ginger seeds have been given to selected farmers but follow-up training should be carried out. Malagasy firms will buy the production.

Notable successes:

  • The former traditional practices were participating in the destruction of the forest. Slash-and-burn cultures, as well as charcoal production, are the most dangerous threats to the forest and the wildlife it shelters. Net Positive Impact managed to launch environmental-friendly agriculture practices. It is now clear that other incomes-generating activities linked to sustainable natural resources’ use could be promoted to support conservation.

4. Social support.

The incomes generated from visitors of the ecotourism infrastructure will be redistributed to the school and the health center the NGO Man and the Environment constructed in a village near Vohimana, Ambavaniasy. The objective is double. First, to contribute to improve the living conditions of the locals, enhance education access and reduce risks of disease. Second, the forest can be seen as a potential source of living conditions improvement, encouraging villagers to protect it and thus the species living in it.

Notable successes:

  • A health center has been built on site and donors found to ensure the salary of the mid wife/nurse. – A primary school has been built on site to allow local access to education. 250 children can go
    to class.
  • A local association has been supported to regroup farmers for eucalyptus firewood forest management (preventing natural forest charcoal production), forestry seedlings production, ecotourism management, forestry control organization and essential oil production.

The Ambalakalanoro project

This projects aims to secure the Ambalakalanoro forest for long term conservation, in order to prevent possible fires or cuts in the forest and allow tourists to visit the site. The Ambalakalanoro forest is now the last shelter of those animals that managed to escape the recurrent fires. Its size is reduced to only 65 hectares, and therefore can be compared more to a private park with exceptional fauna and flora than to a state protected area. The Ambalakalanoro project was launched in 2010.

Notable successes:

  • The natural circus surrounding the forest and protecting the area has been secured.
  • Rare species have been observed, including the fossa, confirming the great biological interest of this tiny remaining forest.
  • Due to the loss of its habitat, the wildlife has no choice but to find shelter in this forest. As a result, the number of lemurs has increased: 66 sifakas now live in the forest.

Propithecus verreauxi coquereli from the Tsaramandroso and Ambalakalanoro forests

The Tsaramandroso project

The forest is located near Ankarafantsika national park. It is under great pressure of deforestation, jeopardizing the wildlife it shelters. The goal of the project is to secure the forest and its wildlife by supporting local communities in preventing slash-and-burn farming or other practices jeopardizing biodiversity. The project was launched in 2015. To do so, Net Positive Impact started a program of a sustainable collection of Saro leaves on site and other aromatic plants. Net Positive Impact also constructed a distillery of essential oils, managed by local farmers.

Notable successes:

  • The distillery employs 12 people. Farmers are motivated to prevent slash-and-burn agriculture and outsiders coming into the forest to over-harvest it.

Community Partnerships and Sustainability

Net Positive Impact partners with local organizations to ensure projects’ sustainability and local involvement.

For the Vohimana project, the local partners are different local associations, Mercie Vohimana, Manarapenitra, Zanatany, each specialized in a field.

For the Ambalakalanoro project, the local partner is the local district.

For the Tsaramandroso project, the local partners are VOI Mamelonarivo and CIRAD.

Donations Are Needed to Support These Projects in Madagascar

Vohimana Project

Donations are need to secure the Vohimana forest for long-term conservation.

Transforming the 25 years management plan agreement into a purchase of a 99-year lease of the forest.
Estimated budget to buy the 560 hectares of  forest: 250 000€

Recently, the government of Madagascar decided to sell the forest and the neighboring lands. The sale will happen at the expense of the local populations, despite their involvement in developing agro-forestry cultures respecting a long-term forest conservation plan. As a result, the risk is that individuals or companies will be able to legally destroy the forest or adopt environmentally destructive activities. Moreover, farmers will lose their lands and those who until now were using sustainable agriculture methods protecting the forest will have no choice but to go back to environment-damaging methods, as slash-and-burn culture. A solution is that Man and the Environment finances the purchase of the forest by obtaining a long-term lease of 99-year between the NGO and the State of Madagascar. Thus, the NGO would ensure the protection of the forest and its species.

Equipment of the forest patrols.
Estimated budget: 5 000€
The patrols cannot be efficient in preventing fires and wood trafficking if the proper equipment is lacking.

Employing one biologist and logistician on the field to organize the stays of biologists and the lemurs, frogs, rare plants (and other species) follow-up.
Estimated budget: 10 000€
Net positive Impact organizes lemur population monitoring. The objective is to achieve a serious database on the evolution of these populations and raise awareness of visitors, who are invited to participate in the data collection.

Securing the land for sustainable agroforestry farming and ensuring training of local farmers.
Estimated budget: 100 000€
The neighboring lands will be sold by the Malagasy government. The risk is that lands may be bought by individuals or firms that do not respect the environment and endanger the wildlife. The NGO can buy the lands and redistribute them to local farmers which agreed to an environment-friendly agriculture.

Ecotourism as a conservation tool.

Improve ecotourism infrastructure.
Estimated budget: 56 000€
Due to the cyclone, the ecotourism infrastructure cannot be functional. To be able to welcome visitors again and generate income, the infrastructure needs to be rebuilt.

Sustainable agriculture productivity improvement.
Estimated budge: 8 000€
Ginger production has been promoted, offering great opportunities to local farmers. Different plants of economic interest have been identified and are now promoted. Local farmers will be trained in improved sustainable practices.

Continue production and training for essential oils.
Estimated budget: 15 000€
A first production unit of essential oil has been provided and local community trained to process local plants for which sustainable markets have been found. Leaves from the forest are being sustainably used for production. Two new stills will be added to increase the production of essential oil, following demand.

Training in sustainable agriculture.
Estimated budget: 4 000€
Training sessions have been started to promote sustainable agriculture in place of slash-and-burn agriculture and farmers started to show interest for more training. Man and the Environment technicians will provide more training sessions on sustainable agriculture.

Social support.
Estimated budget: 3000€
For the health center to become functional, a mid-wife and a nurse need to be employed full-time and health supplies need to be bought, before the added value from the essential oil production allows paying these costs.

Education.
Estimated budget: 20 000€
The villagers approved the primary school the NGO constructed, and now ask for four classrooms for kids from 11 to 15 years old.

Training in Management and Accounting.
Estimated budget: 3000€
The local association is functioning but needs to be trained in management and accounting.

Training in Medicinal Plants.
Estimated budget: 8 000€
Promotion of a proper use of safe and efficient local medicinal plants.

The Ambalakalanoro Project

Secure Forest.
Estimated budget: 70 000€
It is important to secure the forest and its surroundings to ensure conservation by obtaining a long-term lease of 99 years for the forest itself.

Research.
Estimated budget: 10 000€
Organize studies of fauna, its long-term acclimatization and understand the actions necessary to promote its development in the zone.

Raise Awareness.
Estimated budget: 5 000€
Communicate about the site in order to draw national and international interest to conservation.

Promote Ecotourism.
Estimated budget: 5 000€

Promote hotel facilities development on the surrounding areas, companies that will have long-term interest to preserve an appealing environment for patrons and to involve local population in environmental protection.

The Tsaramandroso Project

Distillery.
Estimated budget: 10 000€
Install a new professional distillery on site.

Medicine Plants.
Estimated budget: 5 000€

Identify and standardize medicinal and aromatic plants of immediate commercial interest for local populations.

Donate

  • Net Positive Impact accepts online donations on its website.
  • MATE can ensure that donations from the Lemur Conservation Network go directly to lemur and environmental programs.

Learn More

 

 

Continue Reading

LEEP- University of Arizona

LEEP Logo Web transparent

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

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

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.

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.

Continue Reading

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

University of Hanover

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

Supporting lemur conservation with long-term research programs and capacity building.

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

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

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

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.

 

What lemurs does the Institute of Zoology protect?

In the Ankarafantsika National Park, the institute’s 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)

The organizations undertakes several projects, described below.

Conservation biology and environmental flexibility of lemurs in the Ankarafantsika National Park and the Mariarano forest (Project code: LemCon2)

Microcebus ravelobensis, Ankarafantsika National Park (photo: E. Zimmermann)

Microcebus ravelobensis, Ankarafantsika National Park (photo: E. Zimmermann)

This long-term program, which has been ongoing since 2003, takes place in the Ankarafantsika National Park and the Mariarano forest. This mosaic of habitat types offers many different ecological niches for lemurs and other forest dwelling organisms. Knowledge of how lemurs survive in these different niches is still in its infancy, but urgently needed for conservation management. This project investigates the biology of these animals live in these habitat types, including their vulnerability towards diseases. This knowledge will help us understand the environmental flexibility of species, how events such as climate change affect lemurs’ life history and long-term survival, and provide data for the long-term conservation management of lemurs in northwestern Madagascar.

Effective lemur conservation in the Sofia Region (Project code: LemCon3)

Pending funding, this project will take place in the Anjiamangirana forest and the Marosely forest (northwestern Madagascar). Both areas are fairly fragmented but are important habitat for the many lemur species. The main threats to lemurs in these areas are hunting, charcoal production, and fires. Both areas give home to five to six lemur species, with mouse lemur and sportive lemur species differing between the sites. The species include:

  • Coquerel’s sifaka (Propithecus coquereli)
  • Aye-aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis)
  • Danfoss’ mouse lemur (Microcebus danfossorum)
  • Grewcock’s sportive lemur (Lepilemur grewcockorum)
  • Fat-tailed dwarf lemur (Cheirogaleus medius)
  • Common brown lemur (Eulemur fulvus)
  • Otto’s sportive lemur (Lepilemur otto)
  • Bongolava mouse lemur (Microcebus bongolavensis)
  • Gray mouse lemur (Microcebus murinus)
Lepilemur edwardsi, Ankarafantsika National Park (photo: E. Zimmermann)

Lepilemur edwardsi, Ankarafantsika National Park (photo: E. Zimmermann)

The Institute proposes to undertake five different actions to help protect these lemurs species at these sites:

  1. Facilitating existing local conservation projects;
  2. Long-term monitoring and research to
    identify the needs of local communities and determine where they overlap with conservation needs, work with migrant communities, and promote animals who naturally reforest areas (e.g., bats, lemurs, birds);
  3. Undertake educational exchanges for two-way communication and knowledge transfer, and train locals in sustainable agricultural techniques;
  4. Mitigate habitat threats through fire prevention and control, promotion of alternative cooking fuels, and by supporting forest patrols.
  5. Long-term natural resource management and local development by implementing the Madagascar Bushmeat Strategy, building and maintaining tree nurseries, identifying optimal reforestation areas, and creating/supporting civil organizations that focus on environmental justice.

Phylogeography and conservation genetics of nocturnal lemurs (Project code: LemCon4)

Since 2000, this project aims to understand the population structure of different lemur species across their habitat ranges in view of how drastically anthropogenic disturbances have impacted forests.

Effective conservation requires detailed knowledge on how many individuals remain in the wild, the distribution of species, threats to their survival, and the degree to which individuals within a species differ (e.g., genetically). This project studies genetic differentiation in order to develop effective conservation measures and formulate long-term management plans.

Captive Management

In addition to their 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.

Partnering with local communities

Land use and forest corridors at the border of Ankarafantsika National Park (photo: U. Radespiel)

Land use and forest corridors at the border of Ankarafantsika National Park (photo: U. Radespiel)

Species and habitat conservation cannot be achieved without involving the local Malagasy community resulting in 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; and
  6. contribute to local capacity building of students and local field assistants.

Conservation Management of lemurs in the Ankarafantsika National Park (Project Code: LemCon1)

Village at southern border of Ankarafantsika National Park (photo: U. Radespiel)

Village at southern border of Ankarafantsika National Park (photo: U. Radespiel)

Pending funding, this program will take place in the Ankarafantsika National Park (northwestern Madagascar). Wildlife in the National Park is continuously threatened by bushfires, deforestation, the presence of cattle and human settlements in the forest, charcoal production, and hunting activities. There are, however, central park headquarters and 12 decentralized base camps that aim to limit use of the forest within park boundaries. However, this management system is not yet very effective and needs much improvement. In order to protect the unique and fragile forest mosaic habitats of the Ankarafantsika National Park and its threatened lemurs, a number of conservation actions need to be taken immediately in collaboration with Madagascar National Parks and the Park Administration:

  1. Survey work utilizing the existing forest wardens and additional, temporary base camps;
  2. Train park wardens/forest agents to undertake biodiversity assessments and data processing;
  3. Establish a long-term database and communication network for transmitting and continuously evaluating the monitoring activities at each base camp and across the park;
  4. Build a conservation education program to teachers so that they can better deliver conservation lessons to their students.
  5. Hold regular meetings with the leaders of all villages around the park, discussing the needs of the local human population, and updating people about ongoing and future conservation work in their areas. Educational materials such as booklets, poster, comics and T-shirts will be produced and distributed among villagers.
Continue Reading

Madagasikara Voakajy

Madagasikara Voakajy

Madagasikara Voakajy promotes conservation and sustainable use of Madagascar’s unique species, habitats and ecosystems, for the benefits of Malagasy people

Supporting lemur conservation since 2005 through research and targeted action

Madagasikara Voakajy schoolchildren at manakana Est

School children with the Madagasikara Voakajy lemur mascot!

Madagasikara Voakajy was established in 2005 to provide job opportunities for young Malagasy researchers. Over time, they have evolved to become an organization that provides opportunities for Malagasy biologists to become leaders in the conservation and ecological study of bats, chameleons and other vertebrates. Nowadays, they use evidence-based interventions and stakeholder engagement to target their conservation programs, which focus on a variety of species and their natural habitats. Currently, they have teams of experts who focus on baobabs, bats, reptiles, amphibians and lemurs.

What lemurs does Madagasikara Voakajy protect?

Currently, Madagasikara Voakajy directly impacts the following lemur species:

  • Common brown lemur (Eulemur fulvus)
  • Indri (Indri indri)
  • Diademed sifaka (Propithecus diadema)

To help monitor these species, the organization is implementing a monitoring program using the occupancy modeling, a method that could be implemented easily with the local communities. In Alaotra-Mangoro Region, our interventions also benefit to at least seven other lemur species.

Hunting for lemurs in the Alaotra-Mangoro Region (where Madagasikara Voakajy does much of its work) is a real problem. Their research on this topic has found that lemur hunting may be widespread in this region and may be increasing. In addition, the traditional taboos that some groups in this region hold against hunting some lemur species (like the Indri) may be breaking down. Since 2015, the monitoring of threats and pressures was carried out until now. Only the ayes-ayes that remain taboos for the hunters.

In October 2015, they started using camera traps to monitor lemurs and other animal species in Mangabe protected
area (Moramanga district). This method provides valuable information on the presence / absence, behavior and habitat use of lemurs. Since December 2015, Madagasikara Voakajy is among the beneficiaries of the SOS’ Lemur Initiative. This project is entitled “Learning alternative livelihoods and agricultural techniques, for the love of lemurs” a.k.a “Youths for Lemurs-Lemurs for youths”.

How is Madagasikara Voakajy protecting habitat for lemur conservation?

Madagasikara Voakajy

Madagasikara Voakajy has worked to create several protected areas and natural resources use programs in Madagascar.

Currently, Madagasikara Voakajy is leading the management of seven protected areas in the Alaotra-Mangoro region.

They are supplementing this work with:

  • Environmental education in primary schools;
  • Supporting alternative income projects for women’s associations and youths (15-25 years old);
  • Encouraging the uptake of alternative farming methods for traditional crops; and
  • Creating and supporting community associations to manage natural resources.

In the past, they have worked with communities in a small number of key sites in the Anosy, Alaotra-Mangoro, and Menabe regions to support sustainable natural resource use and protect local habitats.

Partnering with local communities

Outreach

Given the high rates of lemur hunting in their target region, Madagasikara Voakajy undertakes awareness campaigns to raise awareness of the protected status of lemurs with both children and adults. For example, they have ‘Lenari’ – their indri mascot – who interacts with audience members at outreach events through playing, singing and dancing. ‘Lenari’ makes appearances at the organization’s events which include animal festivals, drawing competitions, song and poem competitions, field trips, and even the creation of school biodiversity clubs.

Now, the SOS project, “Youths for lemurs – Lemurs for youths”, brought together young people aged 15-25 from the villages around Mangabe to participate in the conservation of lemurs. Young people make song contests, interviews on lemur conservation. Finally, young people broadcast radio programs to raise awareness among people who do not know the importance and existence of lemurs.

Madagasikara Voakajy also undertakes outreach in schools. Their partnership with education authorities at the local level is especially helpful when schools that are located in communities that are within the boundaries of new protected areas.

Capacity building

Madagasikara Voakajy

Madagasikara Voakajy trains Malagasy scientists both at the university level and beyond.

Through their student training program, Madagasikara Voakajy continues to nurture the next generation of Malagasy scientists; they have supported dozens of Malagasy graduate students. They are also aiming to build the careers of promising Malagasy biologists through employment with their organization.

 

 

Continue Reading

Planet Madagascar

Building sustainable forest communities.

Supporting lemur conservation in northwest Madagascar through focused outreach and education programming.

Planet MadagascarPlanet Madagascar undertakes lemur conservation efforts in and around the Ankarafantsika National Park, in northwestern Madagascar. They primarily work in three communities consisting of 488 people (2014): Ambarindahy (316 people), Maevatanimbary (65 people), and Andranohobaka (107 people).

The organization very purposefully implements one project at a time, at a relatively small scale, so that they 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, they plans to grow as funding allows, and eventually expand outside of the three communities. They work hard to seek funding through grants and private donations.

What lemurs does Planet Madagascar protect?

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 is Planet Madagascar protecting habitat for lemur conservation?

Fire Management

Planet Madagascar staff.

Planet Madagascar staff.

Over the coming years, Planet Madagascar will work 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 will work 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.

Forest 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.

Partnering with local communities

Planet MadagascarLocal 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 brainstorm collaborative solutions and action plans. Then, while programs are being implemented, they ensure that relevant members of the community are trained to manage and continue the programs. Finally, Planet Madagascar always endeavors to provide local communities with the tools they need to continue the work and educate themselves about the importance of the conservation projects.

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 from the park for food, water, and economic activities.

These results underline the importance of implementing education and development programs in these communities and will serve as a baseline dataset that allows Planet Madagascar to measure the impact of their future projects and education initiatives, detailed below, on local knowledge and attitudes.

Conservation Education: Lambas for Lemurs

Planet MadagascarPlanet Madagascar’s first conservation education project, Lambas for Lemurs, was funded by Primate Conservation, Inc. and the Rufford Foundation and began in April 2015. Our goal is to raise awareness about lemurs, including:

  • why they are so unique,
  • their role in the survival of the whole ecosystem,
  • why lemur survival is linked to the survival of humans in the area, and
  • to foster a sense of pride in local communities for the lemurs of the region.

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, local clothes similar to a sarong, and gave them to some 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.”

Educational Documentary

Planet MadagascarAlong with renowned wildlife filmmaker, Chris Scarffe, Planet Madagascar has gathered footage that will be used to produce an educational documentary, aimed at a Malagasy audience. This film will highlight issues related to human-wildlife interactions in Madagascar and will illustrate why a healthy ecosystem is beneficial to both humans and nature. Ankarafantsika National Park will be used as case study in the film. This film will 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.

Continue Reading