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.
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
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.
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.
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)
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:
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)
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:
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:
Facilitating existing local conservation projects;
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);
Undertake educational exchanges for two-way communication and knowledge transfer, and train locals in sustainable agricultural techniques;
Mitigate habitat threats through fire prevention and control, promotion of alternative cooking fuels, and by supporting forest patrols.
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.
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)
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:
jointly perform research projects and publish scientific results with Malagasy collaborators;
improve access of Malagasy partners to scientific results from the international research community;
provide institutional support for Malagasy universities and collaborators;
increase scientific networking with Malagasy colleagues;
support and mentor Malagasy students, postdocs, and researchers; and
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)
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:
Survey work utilizing the existing forest wardens and additional, temporary base camps;
Train park wardens/forest agents to undertake biodiversity assessments and data processing;
Establish a long-term database and communication network for transmitting and continuously evaluating the monitoring activities at each base camp and across the park;
Build a conservation education program to teachers so that they can better deliver conservation lessons to their students.
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.
Supporting lemur conservation in northwest Madagascar through focused outreach and education programming.
Planet 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:
How is Planet Madagascar protecting habitat for lemur conservation?
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.
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
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 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.
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 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.”
Along 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.