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Arol Ecolodge

To develop sustainable ecotourism in Antongil Bay in northeast Madagascar

What is the mission of Arol Ecolodge?

We intend to sustainably develop ecotourism in the Antongil Bay, Masoala, Makira, Nosy Mangabe.

We launched our Ecolodge concept on the western part of the Masoala Peninsula in 2001. The Statutes of AROL clearly establish the stated objective “to develop sustainably ecotourism in Antongil Bay”. Thus more than 4000 visitors shared our passion, the discovery of the exceptional terrestrial and marine biodiversity. We have been in charge of the school for about ten years. The village is supplied with hydroelectricity and running water via standpipes thanks to our contribution. Village associations gain direct benefits from ecotourism with our visitors.

Achievements and Projects

Northern bamboo lemur December 2019 Olivier Fournajoux

– 2017-2018, participation in hydro electrification for 1,500 inhabitants in Ambanizana

– 2014, installation of hydroelectric turbines and water pumps against a commitment to respect environmental law

– since 2011 primary school management

– 2009, production of a CD with the association of women to save the Varecia Rubra.

– 2007, the intervention of an agricultural technician to improve rice production

– since 2012 setting up of the village reserve. Over 2,500 visitors, one dollar each donated to the association.

Planting Bamboo for Northern bamboo lemurs, Hapalemur occidentalis

In the Arol Ecolodge surroundings, on the edge of Masoala forest, we own 1000m² that we intend to plant in green and yellow bamboo.

Five years ago we already plant bamboo in the lodge area which affords us to protect a pair of wild Bamboo lemurs. They came on their own from the nearby primary forest. They already mate and we have four of them coming at night very close from the cabin’s Lodge until now.

Our guests and our staff really enjoy to sight them from 5 pm to 5 am every night in the lodge area.

Classified as vulnerable in 2016 (Lemurs of Madagascar Strategy for Their Conservation), this Bamboo lemur species is probably endangered in Masoala right now. They are still the object of the most serious hunting and trapping by the surrounding communities.

Almost 100 bamboos have already been planted and are growing on our private land right now but it’s not enough.

Unfortunately, Lemurs are trapped by migrants until the beginning of the Covid 19 crises, and they are really endangered more than ever before.

Support Arol Ecolodge’s Conservation Initiatives

You can donate at Arol Ecolodge’s Paypal account  (ecolodgechezarol@gmail.com). Every donation and expense will be clearly recorded.

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ExplorerHome Madagascar

Our mission is to infuse curiosity and interest about STEM fields to the public, inspire people to explore, discover and learn about how science is integral in all aspects of life, and make positive impacts for Madagascar.

What is the purpose of ExplorerHome?

ExplorerHome is dedicated to promote science communication and making science accessible to both the public and scientists. It aims to inspire, nourish curiosity and interest in Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields, as well as increasing STEM literacy among the public at large in Madagascar.

ExplorerHome invites the public to explore the wonders of the world through the eyes of scientists.

ExplorerHome target children (5 to 15 years old) and their families. ExplorerHome’s field-based and online programs give a platform to STEM fields, scientists and offer science outreach, education, and entertainment at its best!

Field Programs

ExplorerHome has two field-based programs, Sciencing Out and Bioblitz.

Sciencing out

“SciOut” program proposes to bridge connections between scientists and non-specialists to articulate that STEM matters. This includes efforts to help students learn but also gives them opportunities to experience science alongside professional scientists and appreciate science while guiding their future action and decision-making towards global issues such as the loss of biodiversity and climate change. “SciOut” program raised the profile of diverse scientific disciplines including Primatology.

With the scientific knowledge shared by scientists leading each topic, students had the opportunity to experience real science: familiarizing with field methods, data collection etc. Each cohort of the “SciOut” program involves 10 high school students and 3 scientific disciplines. The team spend an average of 10 days in the field.

  • When : April and August
  • Total budget for one cohort : $7000
In 2019, ExplorerHome ran 2 cohorts for “SciOut”, with fundings from the National Geographic Society, impacting 21 high school students from 12 public and private schools from Antananarivo and surrounding, 6 scientists from 5 scientific disciplines, 2 educators, 1 storyteller, and 5 facilitators participating in the program.

Learn more about Sciencing Out

 

Bioblitz

This program brings groups of students (elementary school, secondary school, high school) for a day of outdoor exploration in a place where they can access wildlife (park, protected area, etc) using the iNaturalist app and beneficiating from scientists’ guidance. The aims of this activity are to 1) inspire curiosity for each participant about the nature around them, 2) offer the opportunity to participants to practice observation skills necessary for critical thinking involved in the scientific process, 3) use and familiarize themselves with an educative app like iNaturalist and Seek. Each trip for “Bioblitz” involve 25 students, 3 scientists, 5 facilitators.

  • When?: one per month
  • The total budget for each trip (in Antananarivo): $500
  • The total budget for each trip (outside Antananarivo): $2000

In 2019, ExplorerHome ran one Bioblitz in the NAP of Maromizaha, with fundings from the National Geographic Society, involving 48 students, 3 scientists, and 5 facilitators.

Learn more about BioBlitz

Online Programs

As focusing on science communication, education, and outreach, ExplorerHome is very active online.

The NGO developed 5 main programs all centered on three main components: STEM fields, Scientists, and non-scientists. These programs provide a platform for scientists to share their works and incorporate adapted science communication tools to make information more accessible to the public in the form of video. ExplorerHome staff edit and share short storytelling videos to convey messages. Its social media platform: Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube channel are used to broadcast these short educative and informative videos featuring the 5 programs:

“Ask a Scientist”

It features a scientific topic and one host (a scientist) to talk about one STEM-related field topic for two weeks. Questions from the public will be answered during a short series of interviews. Interviews are in Malagasy with English subtitles. Here’s an example of
“Ask a Scientist” featuring Primatology.

“One word a day”

This program is dedicated to kids aged 8-12 years old and explains scientific words in a very simple way. Videos are in French. Here is an example of “One Word a Day” featuring Primatology”

“Science facts”

Scientific papers are turned into short explained videos free of jargon, for the general public to better understand. Videos’ voice over are in Malagasy, contents are in French. Here is an example of Science facts featuring “Wood Sciences”.

“Happy place”

A call for participation is sent out to scientists according to a specified topic. Scientists are free to talk about their research, the species they are working on, fun field anecdote, etc. Video submission is received and will be edited by the ExplorerHome team.

Videos are in the scientist’s mother tongue with subtitles either in English or Malagasy. Here is an example of “Happy place” featuring Primatology

“SCiTia program”

Unlike the other ExplorerHome programs, SCiTia encourages the public to share and contribute to scientific data (such as vernacular name and species record).

  • The Totem&SCiTia program allows Malagasy scouts to share the vernacular name of their totem, and scientists are sharing the scientific information about those totems. Both are gaining knowledge and exchanging information through the program.
  • Voninala&SCiTia program is  ExplorerHome’s program focusing on teaching and encouraging the use of iNaturalist for the public at large, this to encourage exploration and documentation of the nature surrounding us and beginning in our garden. Learn more here.
Implementation of online programs: All year long
Total budget: $750/month

Funding

ExplorerHome collaborates with local organizations (For examples: NGO Sadabe for the “SciOut” program in Mahatsinjo forest, GERP Madagascar for the “SciOut” program in the Maromizaha’s NAP, private school “La Printanière” for the 2019 Bioblitz, etc).

ExplorerHome was able to run its field-based program with one-year funding from National Geographic Society. The online program is funded by a private donor as well as personal funds. We are constantly applying for grants to support our programs.

Support ExplorerHome

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Photography Inspiring Children in Conservation

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

Supporting lemur conservation through visual arts

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

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

Building sustainable conservation

PICC 2020 Ambodiforaha students watching a red ruffed lemur. Photo by Pascal Elison.

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

It is important to foster the development of skills for conservation job opportunities – research has shown that Malagasy people who are involved in ecotourism, and earn their income from sharing wildlife experiences with visitors, will not hunt lemurs and will discourage others from doing so (Borgerson C, et al. 2016. Who hunts lemurs and why they hunt them. Biological Conservation 197:124–130).

Multilingual PICC materials produced as a result of this project – a book and poster of student works, documentary film, and website – will be distributed locally, nationally and internationally, and will be available open-source online. The book of student works will be printed and made available free to the students so that they can sell the book to tourists and use resulting funds to support their own conservation efforts as well as share knowledge with other students and communities.

How does PICC work

Coloring and Activity Books

Using a coloring and activity book designed for the project, the students learn about lemur species in their area and gain an understanding of the uniqueness of lemurs in the world, as well  as the importance of protecting lemur habitat. Through discussions, reading, and activities in their coloring and activity books, students learn about lemur biology, behavior, habitat needs, conservation issues, and the value of lemurs to tourism and a healthy ecosystem. Students who have already participated in the program have been thrilled to combine new skills in the arts and sciences, and have been excited to share their artwork with their families and communities, expanding outreach effects.

Field photography and sketching

The students are taken in small groups into wildlife habitat to spend hours observing and photographing populations of local lemurs (DSLR Canon cameras, 70-300mm zoom lenses). Participating teachers and elders also join the students in the field. Students are taught to look carefully at their surroundings, to notice the animals and details of the ecosystems that they might normally encounter, and learn from the knowledge and viewpoints of elders. The students also experience being immersed in lemur habitat and gain an appreciation for the behavior and ecological needs of various lemur species. They gain experience in creating detailed notes and sketches to accompany their photographs, as well as recording their observations in a small, personal notebook. These notes and stories are scanned, printed, and displayed with the photographs, allowing the experience to be shared by classmates, families, and community members. Students have the opportunity to choose their best photographs onsite, which will be printed, laminated, and made into a display. The images are also posted on the PICC webpage.

The PICC website and teaching resources will be permanently accessible to program participants through the internet-connected iPad, giving students and teachers the ability to access the PICC website and web links to relevant research and conservation resources for species in Madagascar. A camera, printer, and laminator will also remain in the students’ village to provide the opportunity to upload new work to the PICC website. They can also become active citizen scientists by using iPad apps such as iNaturalist, lemursportal.org, and other conservation applications. Teachers and paid local PICC team members will be available to assist the students.

See the PICC Curriculum webpage for more details.

Building capacity by partnering with local communities

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

Recognizing that this national park belongs to local communities and the Malagasy people, we aim to help children understand how to identify and maintain healthy ecosystems, as well as to understand the cultural, environmental and economic benefits of protecting lemur habitat.
In addition to focusing on children, the PICC program includes participation of teachers and elder leaders with traditional ecological knowledge, making the likelihood of program success much higher. This empowers the older community members who have extensive knowledge of native plants and animals and are related to many of the children in the program. Unlike teachers, these elders are seen as local leaders with ancestral ties to the land. This project acknowledges the importance of the Malagasy people’s place in their landscape. We are interested in learning from them, and in returning knowledge to the community through the workshops, books and posters of student writing, illustrations, and photographs. Participating teachers are expanding their knowledge base in order to educate other students and teachers in nearby villages.
Finally, we are fortunate to have a talented Malagasy PICC team member leading efforts in the Masoala area. Pascal Elison grew up in the northeastern forests of Madagascar and is an experienced and knowledgeable eco-guide with creative ideas and skilled leadership abilities. He has an enthusiasm for sharing the forest biodiversity with visitors and has discovered that he also has a passion for educating and inspiring the children (see here for a description of the 2020 program).

Which lemurs does PICC Madagascar protect?

PICC’s long-term goal is to be active in many conservation-critical areas of Madagascar during future, post-pandemic sessions. Currently working within coronavirus pandemic restrictions, we began our program in June 2020 with the students in the village of Ambodiforaha in northeast Madagascar, adjacent to the stunningly beautiful Masoala National Park, an area rich in biodiversity. This National Park and UNESCO World Heritage site protects as much as 40% of Madagascar’s mammalian diversity. On the Masoala peninsula, 9 out of 10 species of lemurs present are vulnerable, endangered, or critically endangered, with the only remaining populations of some species found in this protected habitat.

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

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

Thank you for joining us in our conservation efforts

The fundraising goal for our onsite 2021 PICC program is $18,000 USD, which will allow us to complete all aspects of the project. This includes Malagasy staff salaries, equipment purchases, internet connection (1-year+), student materials (coloring books, notebooks, pencils, canvas sacks), PICC staff logistic support (no salary), and publication costs for the post-project book and poster of student works. 100% of your donations will go towards this project.

PICC is partially supported by a grant from the American Society of Primatologists Conservation Committee and through private donations. Our team members are donating their time and skills to advance lemur conservation through this project. In-kind services and contributions are welcome!

Donations can be made through PayPal. Please contact us for other options, including mailed checks. To see how you can help, please visit our Support Us page or contact us directly.

Photography Inspiring Children in Conservation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. All donations are tax deductible.

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Ary Saina

 

Ary Saina is a group of Malagasy Conservation Biologists committed to promote scientific research and knowledge for the conservation of Madagascar’s unique but imperiled biodiversity.

How does Ary Saina work with lemur conservation?

Our current project focus is in supporting the local communities living near Ihofa forest in Andasibe. We plan to implement socio-economic development activities to improve their livelihoods with the aim of reducing threats on lemur habitat. We are also in need of funding to support the building of an elementary school in the area.

How to support Ary Saina?

Volunteer! We often have volunteers assist in fieldwork activities … stay tuned for upcoming opportunities here

 

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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.

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Money for Madagascar

“To enable Malagasy people to reduce poverty and protect the environment through sustainable, community-led initiatives.”

What is the purpose of Money for Madagascar?

Money for Madagascar’ s mission is to enable Malagasy people to reduce poverty and protect their unique environment through sustainable, community-led initiatives.

Having long recognised the interdependence of people and their environment, Money for Madagascar (MfM) supports local solutions that enable Malagasy people to take charge of their own destiny. Through education, training, and practical support, we enable farmers and forest dwellers to provide for their families, whilst protecting and restoring their fragile environment and rich biodiversity.

Money for Madagascar projects

Betampona Reserve Livelihoods Project

In Betampona we are working with our partner SAF to offer people living around the Special Rainforest Reserve practical alternatives to deforestation and wildlife poaching. By providing training, tools and long term technical support, we enable local families to improve food security and increase income whilst protecting precious wildlife habitats.

MfM takes a long-term approach to supporting families living around the Betampona special rainforest reserve. For over 30 years, MfM has focused on helping people to overcome their problems, to value and protect the land and to live off it in a sustainable

The project, which began in 5 communities surrounding the reserve, has now spread to 100 communities covering over 600km2.Thousands of subsistence farming families have been able to sustainably improve their lives and build a better future for their children, which is a key factor in keeping the Betampona rainforest in tact.

One of the secrets of the Betampona project’s success is the long term, people-centered approach taken by SAF’s committed team of technicians and community workers. The dedicated staff team has established deep respect and trust with the villagers. Their long-term commitment and support mean that benefits are durable and far-reaching. Instead of cutting down new forest every year to try to meet their basic needs, forest communities invest in infrastructures such as rice fields, dams, ponds and animal pens, to get more out of their existing land. Instead of poaching lemurs, farmers are able to improve their diets with fish and poultry. By planting productive trees farmers gain a stake in the forest and are motivated to value and protect it.

Reforestation around Andasibe and Torotorofotsy with Association Mitsinjo

Since 2015, MfM has been working in partnership with Association Mitsinjo to gradually increase the area of restored forest around Andasibe at a rate of about 10ha per year. Reforestation work has provided vital employment opportunities for local people and environmental education has helped to raise awareness of the value of the forests.  By planting corridors to join isolated fragments of primary forest, this project is extending the habitat for many endangered species such as the Indri Indri lemur.

In the areas already planted, reforestation has brought immediate benefits to the land in terms of erosion prevention and water absorption.  In the longer term, Mitsinjo’s painstaking restoration technique provides the best conditions for the natural forest to regenerate.  By using a mix of up to 60 carefully selected indigenous species, the Mitsinjo team harness the power of nature to complete the restoration process!  By including a range of fast growing fruit trees, attractive to seed dispersers such as birds, fruit bats and lemurs, the Mitsinjo reforestation team ensure that wildlife is drawn to the replanted areas, bringing in seeds from other plants in their faeces and facilitating the return of the natural forest. Restoration of natural forest is not a fast process but replanted areas have seen the return of key indicator species such as the Blue Coua and brown lemurs.

The importance of livelihoods for long term success

MfM’s reforestation work with Mitsinjo has always considered the needs of the local population and has emphasised ensuring local employment in reforestation, protection and ecotourism.  New funds in 2020 have made it possible to embark on sustainable livelihoods development in the hamlets of Sahatay and Sahakoa, in the Torotorofotsy buffer zone.

Supporting the development of sustainable livelihoods in these isolated communities is vital for the long-term success of Mitsinjo’s conservation and restoration efforts.  90% of the population living around the Torotorofotsy Protected Area are extremely poor and heavily dependent on the forest and wetland to meet their basic needs.  Away from the eco-tourism hub of Andasibe village, they do not currently reap the obvious benefits of keeping the forest intact.  However, without their support for forest restoration and conservation, unsustainable subsistence agriculture, wildlife poaching and illegal logging will continue unabated, transforming this unique ecosystem into rice fields and destroying its rich biodiversity.

We urgently want to scale up the pace of this important work and to increase investment in both reforestation and strengthening livelihoods as a long-term strategy to restore and protect the forest.

 

The rationale of MfM’s project is to help families from the isolated and impoverished communities around Torotorofotsy to engage positively in forest restoration so that they have a stake in protecting the newly planted trees and to develop improved agricultural practices which will increase their yields whilst reducing pressure on the ecosystem.   The project has 3 main strands:

  • Reforestation
  • Training and support in sustainable agriculture
  • Environmental education

Support Money for Madagascar

To date, the Betampona project has cost £20,000 per year and the work with Andasibe, it costs £5 to plant, maintain and protect a tree (this cost includes, planting,  maintenance, monitoring and community livelihoods workd to reduce pressure).

MfM can receive donations on our website. These can be made using Paypal or a credit or debit card.

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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.
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Madagascar Lemurs Portal

The Madagascar Lemurs Portal aims to improve the conservation state of lemurs by addressing existing data gaps and facilitating exchanges and sharing of expertise and data between a wide group of stakeholders with a role in lemur conservation.

Supporting lemur conservation through online international and national awareness

The significant and unique biodiversity resources found in Madagascar are under extreme pressure from anthropogenic activities including slash and burn agriculture and hunting. As the country’s most emblematic species, Madagascar’s 112 lemur species represent a clear example of the biodiversity threat dynamic operating in Madagascar.

Despite awareness within conservation and research circles of the growing threats experience by lemur species, and a passionate international and national conservation community that has leveraged significant support for investment in research and field-based conservation actions, efforts to date have failed to reverse negative trends in lemur conservation status.

A contributing factor to this failure is related to weak biodiversity information and access to knowledge on the part of stakeholders involved in conservation activities. Specifically, there is a lack of a robust mechanism to create positive feedback loops between research, policy decisions, and on the ground conservation actions.

Following a technical meeting with over 40 representatives of lemur conservation organizations in February 2016, a consortium of local conservation partners – FAPBM, WCS, and GERP – proposed to address this problem by developing the ‘Madagascar Lemurs Portal’.

The Madagascar Lemurs Portal is an online project which aims to reach the public at large both national and international users. The project is supported by the Madagascar Biodiversity Fund.

Learn More about this Project Visit the Madagascar Lemurs Portal!

The office is based in Antananarivo, yet several capacity sessions are conducted by the lemur portal team in different region of Madagascar where local NGO and partners are based. These trainings were conducted in Toamasina (Eastern region), Mahajanga (Western region), Ranomafana (Southeastern region), Morondava (Southwestern region), Mahajanga (Western region), and Antananarivo (Central region).

Vision for the Madagascar Lemurs Portal

Data collection on lemur and awareness raising to the local communities

The vision of success for the Madagascar Lemurs Portal is for a technically and scientifically robust, user-friendly, open-access tool that is regularly used by a wide range of user groups; that becomes an essential tool in certain conservation evaluation and decision making processes (e.g., IUCN Red List assessments and donor and partner monitoring of protected area effectiveness); and that is continuously evolving with the addition of new data shared among users.

User Groups

The Lemurs Portal team identified several user groups for this project. We aim to address their specific needs we identified during the project planning process and we have used to drive the development of the Portal functions. These user groups include:

  • academic researchers (international and national),
  • conservation practitioners,
  • Government policy and decision makers (particularly the Ministry of Environment, Ecology and Forests and the National Environmental Office),
  • tourists and tourism professionals,
  • the private sector,
  • and the general public.

Goals for the Madagascar Lemurs Portal

From November 2016 to October 2019, the team plans to have:

  • Engagement of 20 partners, to contribute and validate data
  • Inclusion of 10,000 lemur occurrence records on all 109 species
  • Registration of 500 users on site, half of which participate in the forum
  • Visitation by 5,000 non-registered users
  • Evidence of portal use including references in academic press, grey literature and social media

Community Partnerships and Sustainability

Community partnership:

The Lemur Portal ensures collaboration between a wide ranges of stakeholders related to lemur conservation from decision-makers to the local community.

Information, communication, and education (ICE):

ICE includes our key activities for supporting local communities, especially local technicians and protected areas manager. We gather data/information on lemurs while also engaging local communities to format and insert these collected data in the portal. Our team builds local capacities on biodiversity data management, geographical information, and strategic planning for the academic student, local technicians, and those involved in protected area management.

Over two years, we have trained more than 300 local technicians from various regions of Madagascar.

Data/information from local NGO’s and community will be transferred via the lemur portal to decision-makers, tourists, and international organizations for lobbying and raising awareness.

Sustainability:

The Madagascar Biodiversity Fund, as the consortium leader, are implementing a sustainable funding mechanism that will involve the Foundation itself and other potential funders. Also, the project are currently applying for diverse grants related to lemur conservation and database sharing. To encourage the support of local potential funders, various fundraising programs are currently in preparation. In addition, the team has applied to many grants that emphasize the use of technology for biodiversity conservation.

Collaboration with protected areas manager – Madagascar National Parks in Zombitse Vohibasia

 

Visit the Madagascar Lemur Portal!

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