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:
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.
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.
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 from the Vohimana forest
The Tsaramandroso community forest in the buffer zone of the Ankarafantsika National Park:
The Ambalakalanoro forest in the north-west coast:
Propithecus verreauxi coquereli
Eulemur fulvus fulvus
Hapalemur griseus occidentalis
How does Net Positive Impact work for lemur conservation?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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 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
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.
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.
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.
The Lemur Conservation Foundation helps conserve lemurs through managed breeding programs, outreach, and on-the-ground conservation.
Saving lemurs through managed breeding programs, educational outreach, and on-the-ground conservation efforts.
Critically endangered mongoose lemur born at LCF in 2014.
The Lemur Conservation Foundation (LCF) is a non-profit corporation dedicated to the preservation and conservation of the primates of Madagascar through managed breeding, scientific research, and education. The foundation and accompanying lemur reserve focus on fostering natural lemur behavior to encourage a dynamic population.
LCF supports educational programs started by the late Dr. Alison Jolly in Madagascar and is developing content to bring those programs to classrooms in the United States. In addition, LCF provides financial support to assist in the establishment of a tourist and research camp in Anjanaharibe-Sud Special Reserve in northeast Madagascar, home to the elusive silky sifaka and a unique population of indri with black pelage.
What lemurs does the Lemur Conservation Foundation protect?
At their reserve in Florida, the Lemur Conservation Foundation is home to over 45 lemurs of six different species, most of which are critically endangered or endangered. LCF is a Certified Related Facility with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and participates in their Species Survival Plans which work to maintain a genetic safety net for a variety of lemur species. The species currently housed at the reserve are:
Collared lemurs (Eulemur collaris)
Mongoose lemur (Eulemur mongoz)
Sanford’s lemur (Eulemur sanfordi)
Common brown lemurs (Eulemur fulvus)
Red ruffed lemurs (Varecia rubra)
Ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta)
How is the Lemur Conservation Foundation protecting habitat for lemur conservation?
Demarcation signs funded by LCF to outline the boundary of the Anjanaharibe-Sud Special Reserve.
Lemur Conservation Foundation is supporting projects in Anjanaharibe-Sud Special Reserve (ASSR), a large mountainous rainforest in northeastern Madagascar, which has long been recognized as a lemur priority site that has received little attention. LCF has partnered with the Madagascar National Parks to provide boundary demarcations for this protected area and is working towards developing a site called Camp Indri into a functioning base camp for tourists and researchers. At least 11 lemur species are found here including:
LCF also collaborates with École Normale Supérieure (ENS), the teachers’ training arm of the University of Antananarivo. This partnership supports the students of ENS in their field research and field work theses at the Berenty Reserve, a private wildlife reserve in southern Madagascar. Research done at Berenty includes lemur census surveys and plant phenology.
Helping lemurs in captivity
A family of Lemur catta in one of LCF’s semi free-ranging forests, where field students can observe lemurs in a natural environment.
The Lemur Conservation Foundation operates a 100 acre reserve in Myakka City, Florida. The reserve is set up with two semi free-ranging forests, each approximately ten acres, and two traditional enclosure buildings. As a Certified Related Facility with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, LCF participates in the Eulemur Species Survival Plan (SSP), Ruffed Lemur SSP, and Ring-tailed Lemur SSP, which include a global network of institutions working towards the propagation of selected lemur species in order to ensure the healthy existence of those species whose survival is in peril.
LCF also hosts field training programs, in which professors and their students utilize the facility and the lemur colony for behavioral observations and research on social dynamics and cognitive skills, as well as habitat use and food selection. These training programs produce future primatologists and conservation biologists which will carry the conservation imperative forward for lemurs and other endangered species and fostering and inspiring conservation based careers is an invaluable part of LCF’s mission.
Partnering with local communities
The first book in the Ako Project series, Ako the Aye-Aye.
LCF has the pleasure of continuing on Dr. Alison Jolly’s legacy with the Ako Project, in collaboration with Dr. Hanta Rasamimanana, Dr. Jolly’s former colleague, professor at ENS, and Madagascar’s “Lemur Lady”. The Ako Project, sponsored by EnviroKidz, is an educational children’s book series, translated in both English and Malagasy, which is intended to teach Malagasy children about different species of lemur in a fun, tangible way. The books come with matching curriculum to help teachers convey the conservation themes and concepts envisioned for the stories.
Dahari shapes sustainable and productive landscapes with Comorian communities.
Supporting lemur conservation in the Comoros.
Dahari is the only Lemur Conservation Network member undertaking lemur-related work in the Comoros, a small nation to the west of the northern tip of Madagascar, and the only place where lemurs can be found naturally outside of Madagascar. As part of their work, the organization undertakes a broad range of conservation-related programming, livelihood improvement with local communities, ecotourism projects, and habitat protection work.
What lemur species does Dahari protect?
Dahari undertakes habitat protection and ecotourism work in the Moya forest area on the southern island of Anjouan. Here, the organization has been working to protect the mongoose lemur (Eulemur mongoz) since November 2014.
Mongoose Lemur Research Project
Since November 2014, Dahari has been undertaking a research project on the Mongoose Lemur. This project aims to compare the genetic material of the mongoose lemurs of Madagascar and of Anjouan (Comoros) to find out whether the genetic diversity of the two populations is sufficient to ensure the species’ survival.
This initiative – being undertaken in partnership with the Madagascar Biodiversity Partnership and Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium and funded by Conservation International, the Primate Action Fund, and the Margot Marsh biodiversity fund – will help determine the best way to target conservation programs for this species. Further research and conservation programs will be identified once this initial research has been completed.
Partnering with Local Communities
As a development and conservation NGO, Dahari has a wide range of activities with local communities, including habitat protection actions that will benefit the Mongoose lemur.
Since 2008, Dahari has supported over 2500 farmers innine villages around the Moya forest in the south of Anjouan to improve their agricultural yields and revenues. The NGO proposes techniques that restore and maintain fertility to improve yields in the long-term, whilst also making agricultural practices more compatible with forest conservation. Dahari benefits from the technical support of the Centre International pour la Recherche Agronomique pour le Développement (CIRAD) on its rural development work.
Participatory conservation of the Livingstone’s fruit bat
Since September 2014, Dahari has been running a conservation program for the Livingstone fruit bat (Pteropus livingstonii), an endangered species endemic to Anjouan and Moheli islands in the Comoros. The conservation program is implemented in partnership with local communities in order to protect the roost sites of the bat by finding solutions that allow the villagers and the Livingstone’s fruit bat to live alongside each other, without the needs of one hindering those of the other.
Supporting communities with water management and reforestation
The Comoros suffered from the highest rate of deforestation in the world between 2000 and 2010 according to UN figures. This has had a huge impact on soil fertility and water availability – 30 of 45 permanent rivers on Anjouan now flow intermittently. Dahari is therefore developing a reforestation program and a water management project in partnership with local communities on the island of Anjouan.
The Reniala NGO works to rehabilitate lemurs from the illegal pet trade in southwest Madagascar.
Supporting lemur conservation through habitat protecting and captive lemur rehabilitation
The Reniala NGO aims to protect the forests of the Reniala reserve, rehabilitate lemurs from the bushmeat and pet trade at the Lemur Rescue Center, and develop alternative livelihood projects such as beekeeping.
What lemur species does the Reniala NGO protect?
The Reniala NGO protects several species of lemur through their activities, including ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta).
Through their work, the organization facilitates research programs on ring-tailed lemurs including researchers from the United States and from within Madagascar. Research projects include nocturnal lemur monitoring through camera traps as well as many projects examining lemur behavior, feeding, and health, as well as social science studies on the attitudes of local communities towards wildlife.
How does the Reniala NGO protect habitat for lemur conservation?
The Reniala NGO manages a 6 km-squared protected area of dry spiny forest, located 29 km north of Toliara, a larger city in southwest Madagascar.
Helping lemurs in captivity
The Lemur Rescue Center (LRC) – which is one of the Reniala NGO’s projects – houses 25 individual ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta) which were confiscated as part of the illegal pet and bushmeat trades in Madagascar. This project aims to care for, rehabilitate, and eventually release these lemurs back into the wild. It is hoped that the lemurs will be reintroduced into the Reniala Reserve, which is a forest that is managed by the organization. In addition, the organization anticipates it will play a larger role in the rehabilitation and transport of lemurs across Madagascar in the next few years.
Rehabilitation and reintroduction of lemurs into the wild is not an easy process; the Reniala NGO is one of the few facilities in Madagascar that is authorized to undertake this work. Ring-tailed lemurs – like any other lemur species – are difficult to reintroduce into the wild. Therefore, animals that cannot be released – such as those that have lost the ability to forage for food – will be cared for at the center for the duration of their lives.
Given the scale of the pet and bushmeat trade in Madagascar, there are always more lemurs waiting to be rehabilitated than the facility can hold. Therefore, efforts are underway to increase the capacity of the Rescue Center over the next few years.