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Archive | Lac Alaotra New Protected Area

Madagascar Wildlife Conservation (MWC)

What We Do

At Madagascar Wildlife Conservation (MWC) we work 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.
Work by MWC to conserve the lemur is heavily focused on working with and benefiting the local community.

How We Protect Lemurs And Other Wildlife

Scientific name Hapalemur alaotrensis, Vernacular name Malagasy: Bandro

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

We focus on protecting the Critically Endangered Alaotra Gentle Lemur through education, ecotourism, and elternative livelihoods in the Lac Alaotra region

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

Our current focus is on Alaotra Gentle Lemur habitat restoration to reconnect isolated and fragmented subpopulations of lemurs.

What Lemur Species We Protect

Alaotra Gentle Lemur (Hapalemur alaotrensis) or Bandro in Malagasy. 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 marsh habitat through slash and burn agriculture techniques, and poaching are the main causes. 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 We Support Local Communities

Education

Since 2006, MWC has been encouraging 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.

We’ve implemented 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 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 Alaotra Gentle Lemurs themselves.

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.

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

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

Alternative Livelihoods for the Community

In addition, at MWC we support 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.

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Madagasikara Voakajy

Madagasikara Voakajy

What We Do

Madagasikara Voakajy schoolchildren at manakana Est

School children with the Madagasikara Voakajy lemur mascot!

At Madagasikara Voakajy we promote conservation, and sustainable use of Madagascar’s unique species, habitats and ecosystems, for the benefits of Malagasy people.

Madagasikara Voakajy was established in 2005 to provide job opportunities for young Malagasy researchers. Over time, we have evolved to become an organization that provides opportunities for Malagasy biologists to become leaders in the conservation and ecological study of a wide variety of species.

Nowadays, we use evidence-based interventions and stakeholder engagement to target our conservation of species and their habitats. Currently, we have teams of experts who focus on baobabs, bats, reptiles, amphibians and lemurs.

How We Protect Lemurs And Other Wildlife

We monitor four species of lemur, having implemented a monitoring program using occupancy modeling, a method that could be implemented easily with the local communities. In the Alaotra-Mangoro region, our interventions benefit 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. Our 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 has been carried out. Only Ayes-ayes now remain taboos for the hunters.

In October 2015, we 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.

What Lemur Species We Protect

Currently, Madagasikara Voakajy directly impacts the following lemur species:

  • Common brown lemur (Eulemur fulvus)
  • Indri (Indri indri)
  • Diademed sifaka (Propithecus diadema)
  • Alaotra gentle lemur (Hapalemur alaotrensis)

How We Support Local Communities

Madagasikara Voakajy

Madagasikara Voakajy has worked to create several protected areas and natural resources use programs in Madagascar.

Outreach

Given the high rates of lemur hunting in our target region, Madagasikara Voakajy undertakes awareness campaigns of the protected status of lemurs with both children and adults. For example, ‘Lenari’, our Indri mascot, 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”, sees young people aged 15-25 from the villages around Mangabe, participate in the conservation of lemurs. Young people make song contests, interviews on lemur conservation and broadcast radio programs to raise awareness of the importance of lemurs amongst their communities.

Madagasikara Voakajy

Madagasikara Voakajy trains Malagasy scientists both at the university level and beyond.

Madagasikara Voakajy also undertakes outreach in schools. Our partnership with education authorities at the local level is especially helpful with schools located in communities that are within the boundaries of new protected areas.

Capacity building

Through our student training program, Madagasikara Voakajy continues to nurture the next generation of Malagasy scientists.We are also aiming to build the careers of promising Malagasy biologists through employment within the organization.

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Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust (American Friends of Durrell)

Durrell Conservation AFD

What We Do

Durrell Conservation Lee Durrell releasing ploughshare tortoises in 2011

Lee Durrell releasing ploughshare tortoises in 2011.

American Friends of Durrell promotes and supports the work of Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust (DWCT), a British wildlife charity established in 1963 by author and conservationist, Gerald Durrell. DWCT’s mission is to save species from extinction.

In Madagascar, the DWCT has been undertaking conservation actions for species and habitats since 1983. It has pioneered efforts for breeding and release-to-the wild of critically endangered species, for protecting vulnerable habitats and for enabling and empowering local communities to manage their natural environments sustainably. DWCT’s Madagascar Program employs approximately 30 people, mostly Malagasy nationals, and operates at eight sites. Lemurs are flagship species for two of the sites where the DWCT works: the Alaotran gentle lemur at Lac Alaotra and the black and white ruffed lemur at Manombo.

The American Friends of Durrell currently contribute to two of DWCT’s projects: (1) the Alison Jolly Madagascar Scholarship; and (2) the Madagascar Program Management and Coordination fund, which essentially covers the core costs of DWCT’s work in Madagascar. In the future, the American Friends of Durrell will likely increase their funding of the organization’s programs, especially as it relates to lemur conservation.

How We Protect Lemurs And Other Wildlife

Durrell Conservation Alaotran gentle lemurs

Alaotran gentle lemurs.

Thanks to the help of the American Friends of Durrell, the DWCT in Madagascar has been able to achieve several landmark moments in lemur conservation. Notable successes include the establishment of a Ramsar Site for Lac Alaotra (East Madagascar) and a National Park at Baly Bay (West Madagascar).

What Lemur Species We Protect

Lemurs are flagship species for two of the sites where the DWCT works: the Alaotran gentle lemur (Hapalemur alaotrensis) at Lac Alaotra (East Madagascar) and the Black-and-white ruffed lemur (Varecia variegata) at Manombo (Southeast Madagascar).

How We Support Local Communities

DWCT pioneered its approach to partnering with local communities in the early 1990s on the project to save the ploughshare tortoise of Madagascar. It was inspired and led by the late Lala Jean Rakotoniaina, who became DWCT’s Community Conservation Coordinator and a Disney Conservation Hero. Now all of DWCT’s work in Madagascar – and elsewhere in the world – is modeled on this approach, with local communities participating in management actions and ultimately taking on decisions concerning their natural resources. The empowerment of local communities helps increase the sustainability of programming, and therefore the viability of species and target habitats.

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