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Marat Karpeka Lemur Foundation

What We Do

Photo by Scott Pollard

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.

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

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.

What Lemur Species We Protect

  • Black blue-eyed lemur (Eulemur flavifrons)
  • Milne-Edwards sportive lemur (Lepilemur edwardsi)
  • Crowned sifaka (Propithecus coronatus)

As well as other endemic species to northwest region of Madagascar

How We Support Local Communities

Construction of a new school in Antafiabe village

A permanent school in the village Antafiabe, part of the Sahamalaza National Park, has been built. It officially opened in 2019 during the annual Lemur Festival. It replaced the existing old school building which could not accommodate all pupils and teachers and was in disrepair.

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 to make a difference.

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

Community Partnerships and Sustainability

We work closely with our partners AEECL and Madagascar Biodiversity Partnership (MBP). We support reforestation projects in Kianjavato and Montagne des Français, which involves planting trees for fuelwood and distributing fuel-efficient stoves to encourage communities to cut back on coal use.

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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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