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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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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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Marat Karpeka Lemur Foundation

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

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

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

Photo by Scott Pollard

Which lemur species does Marat Karpeka Lemur Foundation work with?

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

Where does MKLF work?

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

How does Marat Karpeka Lemur Foundation work for lemur conservation?

Construction of a new school in Antafiabe village

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

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

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

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

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

Community Partnerships and Sustainability

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

 

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

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Man and the Environment: Net Positive Impact Program

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

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

What lemur species does Net Positive Impact protect?

Varecia Variegata from the Vohimana forest.

Net Positive Impact operates in three locations.

The Vohimana forest in the Mantadia – Zahamena:

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

Indri Indri from the Vohimana forest

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

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

The Ambalakalanoro forest in the north-west coast: 

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

How does Net Positive Impact work for lemur conservation?

Habitat protection

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

Eco-tourism

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

Learn more about Vohimina

Environmental policy

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

Key Projects in Madagascar

The Vohimana Project

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

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

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

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

Eulemur Rubriventer from the Vohimana forest

The Vohimana project has four principal steps:

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

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

Notable successes:

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

2. Ecotourism as a conservation tool.

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

Notable successes:

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

3. Sustainable agriculture productivity improvement.

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

Notable successes:

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

4. Social support.

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

Notable successes:

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

The Ambalakalanoro project

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

Notable successes:

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

Propithecus verreauxi coquereli from the Tsaramandroso and Ambalakalanoro forests

The Tsaramandroso project

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

Notable successes:

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

Community Partnerships and Sustainability

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

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

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

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

Donations Are Needed to Support These Projects in Madagascar

Vohimana Project

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ecotourism as a conservation tool.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Ambalakalanoro Project

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

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

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

Promote Ecotourism.
Estimated budget: 5 000€

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

The Tsaramandroso Project

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

Medicine Plants.
Estimated budget: 5 000€

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

Donate

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

Learn More

 

 

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Madagascar Wildlife Conservation (MWC)

Madagascar Wildlife Conservation Protects the Critically Endangered Alaotra Gentle Lemur through Education, Ecotourism, and Alternative Livelihoods in the Lac Alaotra Region

Scientific name Hapalemur alaotrensis, Vernacular name Malagasy: Bandro

Lac Alaotra Gentle Lemur; Scientific name: Hapalemur alaotrensis; Malagasy: Bandro

MWC balances conservation and development in Madagascar’s Alaotra region

Madagascar Wildlife Conservation works exclusively in the region surrounding Lac Alaotra, near Andreba, Madagascar (commune of Ambatosoratra) in the special conservation zone of the Alaotra New Protected Area. In this region, MWC protects the critically endangered Alaotra Gentle Lemur. This is the only place in the world where this lemur exists in the wild.

MWC promotes long-term initiatives in this region that integrate biodiversity conservation, environmental education, and rural development using a scientific approach. Their three programs on education, ecotourism, and alternative livelihoods are ongoing and will be continued in the next years.

MWC’s focus in the next couple of years is on Bandro habitat restoration to reconnect isolated and fragmented subpopulations.

What lemur species does MWC protect?

  • Alaotra Gentle Lemur
    (Scientific name: Hapalemur alaotrensis; Malagasy name: Bandro)

The population of the Alaotra Gentle Lemur has dropped from 11,000 individuals in 1990 to about 3,000. This species could be extinct in less than 40 years. The destruction of freshwater marshes through slash and burn techniques and poaching are largely to blame. MWC works with the local community in the region surrounding Lac Alaotra to mitigate these threats and protect this lemur species from extinction.

Environmental education with the use of the comic book "Harovy fa harena"

Environmental education with the use of the comic book “Harovy fa harena”

How is MWC protecting habitat for lemur conservation?

Education

Since 2006, Madagascar Wildlife Conservation (MWC) encourages local communities to learn about, take interest in, and ultimately understand and value their environment. Education is one of the most important requisites for a better living standard as well as for sustainable conservation.

Therefore, MWC implements environmental education in the public primary schools (EPP) of the Alaotra region by distributing a comic book in Malagasy language “AROVY FA HARENA” which translates to “protect, because it is richness”. The goal is to raise public sensitivity and appreciation for the importance of an intact lake and preserved marshes. An evaluation conducted in 2011 and 2012 showed a significant increase in environmental knowledge of students receiving environmental education compared to controls.

Ecotourism

MWC also promotes sustainable ecotourism in the Alaotra region. Camp Bandro is a tourist facility close to the village Andreba and the special conservation zone Park Bandro. Trained guides take the tourists on a discovery tour in a pirogue. On the lake and in the reed and papyrus marshes in Bandro Park, they can observe the rich variety of birds and the highly endangered Bandros themselves.

Income generating activity: use of water hyacinth as raw material in basketry

Income generating activity: use of water hyacinth as raw material in basketry

The management of this facility is a community-based project which serves as a source of further income for the villagers and generates income to finance micro projects for the community, like wells and market stands.

Alternative Livelihoods for the Community

Additionally MWC supports the creation of alternative revenue sources to develop sustainable local microprojects. The aim is to elicit local competence in sustainable resource management, which respects the needs of the villagers and encourages new perspectives. This approach is the background of a project which encourages the villagers to use the invasive water hyacinth as an alternative revenue source.

Local and International Collaborators

MWC collaborates with various stakeholders, from local village associations to regional NGOs, official authorities, and universities.

The team of MWC with communities and other partners

The MWC team with communities and other partners

Their main partners in the Alaotra region are:

  • VOI Andreba: Andreba-based community association with the official mandate from the Ministry of Environment to manage the Park Bandro site at Andreba
  • AGBA: local tourist guide association in Andreba responsible for tourist visits at the Park Bandro
  • Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust Madagascar: NGO with regional office in Ambatondrazaka (Alaotra), responsible for the conservation and management of the New Protected Area Lake Alaotra.
  • CISCO: school authorities from Ambatondrazaka and Amparafaravola districts
  • Alaotra Rano Soa: Malagasy association based in Ambatondrazaka, responsible for the management of the New Protected Area Lake Alaotra.
  • Ministry of Environment, Ecology, Sea and Forests: responsible for the governance of water and forests.
  • Ministry of Fisheries: responsible for the governance of fisheries.
  • Ministry of Agriculture: responsible for the governance of agricultural production and land.

 

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

University of Hanover

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

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

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

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

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

In particular, the Institute studies the patterns, evolution, and consequences of differences between species in their behavior, bioacoustics, ecology, and susceptibility for diseases. Combining this knowledge with an understanding of how habitat needs and habitat fragmentation impact the genetic diversity of populations,it is possible to evaluate the changes for long-term survival of these populations.

The working group “Lemur conservation Biology” from the Institute of Zoology has worked in the Ankarafantsika National Park (135,000 ha park) since 1995 and in the Mariarano forest since 2003. The Ankarafantsika National Park comprises the largest remaining patch of continuous dry deciduous forest in northwestern Madagascar and is therefore of utmost importance for the preservation of the remaining biodiversity.

 

What lemurs does the Institute of Zoology protect?

In the Ankarafantsika National Park, the institute’s work impacts:

  • Coquerel’s sifaka (Propithecus coquereli)
  • Milne-Edwards sportive lemurs (Lepilemur edwardsi)
  • Western woolly lemurs (Avahi occidentalis)
  • Golden-brown mouse lemurs (Microcebus ravelobensis), described by the Institute in 1998
  • Mongoose lemurs (Eulemur mongoz)
  • Grey mouse lemurs (Microcebus murinus)
  • Fat-tailed dwarf lemurs (Cheirogaleus medius)
  • Brown lemurs (Eulemur fulvus)

The organizations undertakes several projects, described below.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Captive Management

In addition to their work in the field, the Institute of Zoology also leads the ex situ management of Goodman’s mouse lemur (Microcebus lehilahytsara), and keep one of only two breeding colonies worldwide for this species.

Partnering with local communities

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

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

Species and habitat conservation cannot be achieved without involving the local Malagasy community resulting in their active participation in decision-making processes. As a prerequisite, any conservation initiative must therefore aim to strengthen local knowledge and to raise responsibility for the unique biodiversity of Madagascar.

Since 1995, the Institute of Zoology has established a series of collaboration contracts with Malagasy authorities including the University of Antananarivo (Department of Zoology), the University of Mahajanga (Biology Department), and Madagascar National Parks (MNP). These are key to the long-term success of the programs and to build capacity in Madagascar for lemur conservation.

Specifically, the Institute aims to:

  1. jointly perform research projects and publish scientific results with Malagasy collaborators;
  2. improve access of Malagasy partners to scientific results from the international research community;
  3. provide institutional support for Malagasy universities and collaborators;
  4. increase scientific networking with Malagasy colleagues;
  5. support and mentor Malagasy students, postdocs, and researchers; and
  6. contribute to local capacity building of students and local field assistants.

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

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

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

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

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

Building sustainable forest communities.

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

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

The organization very purposefully implements one project at a time, at a relatively small scale, so that they can work with the three communities on an ongoing basis. Over the next few years, Planet Madagascar will focus on conservation education, fire management, and community livelihoods programs.

In the future, they plans to grow as funding allows, and eventually expand outside of the three communities. They work hard to seek funding through grants and private donations.

What lemurs does Planet Madagascar protect?

Planet Madagascar’s work in and around the Ankarafantsika National Park in northwestern Madagascar currently impacts the following lemur species:

  • Coquerel’s sifaka (Propithecus coquereli)
  • Western woolly lemur (Avahi occidentalis)
  • Mongoose lemur (Eulemur mongoz)
  • Common brown lemur (Eulemur fulvus)
  • Gray mouse lemur (Microcebus murinus)
  • Golden-brown mouse lemur (Microcebus ravelobensis)
  • Milne-Edward’s sportive lemur (Lepilemur edwardsi)
  • Fat-tailed dwarf lemur (Cheirogaleus medius)

How is Planet Madagascar protecting habitat for lemur conservation?

Fire Management

Planet Madagascar staff.

Planet Madagascar staff.

Over the coming years, Planet Madagascar will work with local community members, including national park staff, to find and implement realistic solutions to bush fires, one of the major threats affecting lemurs in the park. Local residents burn grasses near forest to improve grazing zones for cattle, but fires also accidentally burn forest.

Planet Madagascar will work with the community to implement a fire management strategy while contributing to improving the livelihood of people living in the communities. This strategy will provide employment for local residents and also mitigate fire risk for lemurs and their habitat.

Forest reforestation

We work to cultivate and plant new trees in Ankarafantsika National Park. We focus on two types of restoration, restoring fragmented landscapes to create corridors that connect existing fragments to continuous forest and erosion control through forest restoration where we plant trees to reduce the impact of erosion. We hire and train local community members to work with our on-the-ground Planet Madagascar staff members to identify target plant species, collect seeds, build and manage tree nurseries, and plant seedlings. Community members benefit through a salary-based program, thereby providing them with much-needed revenue and by receiving the direct benefits of erosion control through forest restoration.

Partnering with local communities

Planet MadagascarLocal people are involved at all stages of Planet Madagascar’s projects, as one of the goals of the organization is to develop capacity in Madagascar. Before implementing any project, Planet Madagascar holds stakeholder meetings with community members to facilitate open discussion about the challenges faced by conservation efforts, and to brainstorm collaborative solutions and action plans. Then, while programs are being implemented, they ensure that relevant members of the community are trained to manage and continue the programs. Finally, Planet Madagascar always endeavors to provide local communities with the tools they need to continue the work and educate themselves about the importance of the conservation projects.

Community Livelihoods

In September 2014, Planet Madagascar completed a livelihoods survey, speaking with 213 community members in their three target communities. Preliminary results revealed that over 70% of the people did not have knowledge of the different lemur species in their region, and few people were aware of the benefits that lemurs provide to forest ecosystems. For example, in one village, only 8% of people were aware that lemurs disperse seeds. We found that people’s livelihoods depend on the national park and its resources. For example approximately 70% of the respondents stated that their livelihoods depend mostly from the park for food, water, and economic activities.

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

Conservation Education: Lambas for Lemurs

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

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

To implement this program, Planet Madagascar created an education toolkit that consists of guidelines and activities for adult leader training sessions, children’s educational programming, and adult educational programming. To reinforce the conservation message, we printed lambas, local clothes similar to a sarong, and gave them to some participants. Lambas are traditionally a culturally relevant medium of knowledge transfer. On each lamba we printed a scene depicting lemurs living in forest alongside people, and a message that states in the local dialect of Malagasy that “a healthy forest has lemurs.”

Educational Documentary

Planet MadagascarAlong with renowned wildlife filmmaker, Chris Scarffe, Planet Madagascar has gathered footage that will be used to produce an educational documentary, aimed at a Malagasy audience. This film will highlight issues related to human-wildlife interactions in Madagascar and will illustrate why a healthy ecosystem is beneficial to both humans and nature. Ankarafantsika National Park will be used as case study in the film. This film will facilitate dialogue in the local communities in a way that helps people understand how their actions have direct impacts on the surrounding wildlife and ultimately on their own livelihoods.

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Lemur Conservation Foundation

Lemur Conservation Foundation logo 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.

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.

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:

  • Indri (Indri indri)
  • Silky sifaka (Propithecus candidus)
  • Aye-aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis)
  • Mittermeier’s mouse lemurs (Microcebus mittermeieri)
  • Northern bamboo lemur (Hapalemur occidentalis)

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.

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

Educational Outreach

The first book in the Ako Project series, Ako the Aye-Aye.

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.

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