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The Dr. Abigail Ross Foundation for Applied Conservation (TDARFAC)

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The Dr. Abigail Ross Foundation for Applied Conservation (TDARFAC)

Supporting Member of the Lemur Conservation Network

What We Do

The intention of TDARFAC is to bridge the gap between academic breakthroughs in conservation science and applied conservation efforts on the ground by generating actionable conservation interventions. Ultimately, our aim is to support novel applications of techniques and approaches from the natural and social sciences while leveraging existing knowledge to solve real-world problems.

How We Protect Lemurs and Other Wildlife

Grantmaking

Planet Madagascar Women’s Cooperative. The cooperative engages in independent business ventures including circus farming, forest restoration, and bee-keeping in Ankarafantsika National Park.

TDARFAC provides grants to support conservation research and community-based conservation, which aligns with our mission statement and objectives:

  1. building capacity;
  2. amplifying voices; and
  3. partnering with local communities.

TDARFAC supports individuals, collaborations or partnerships, and non-governmental organizations working in non-human primate habitat countries. The foundation’s primary focus is assisting conservationists from low- and middle-income countries as defined by the World Bank and/or people and/or organizations working therein. However, projects based on any non-human primates, their habitats, or any animal or plant species, which share and influence the same landscapes as non-human primates and directly relate to their conservation, are eligible for funding. Grants are awarded based on the guidance and recommendations of the Advisory Council.

Reforestation Corridor Connecting Andasibe-Mantadia National Park and Analamazoatra Special Reserve

Reforestation corridor team collage, EcoVision Village, Andasibe Madagascar.

We are in currently in the first phase of creating a wildlife corridor connecting two of Madagascar’s most important protected areas: Andasibe-Mantadia National Park and Analamazoatra Special Reserve.

These areas are home to various Endangered and Critically Endangered wildlife species, including 12 lemur species. Wildlife populations in the two protected areas are currently not connected due to past (~1960s) deforestation that previously connected these two forests. This is a landscape scale project and hugely collaborative effort between various people and organizations.

Long-term Conservation Goals for this Project

  • Replant 1,500 native tree seedlings per hectare across 233 hectares.
  • Hire ten local community members to prepare land and plant native seedlings.
  • Support a local native seedling nursery.
  • Create a critical native forest corridor connecting some of the most Endangered wildlife populations on Earth.
  • Facilitate community-based ecotourism and research projects to provide long-term employment opportunities for local community members.
See a List of Collaborators for this Project

What Lemur Species We Protect

Diademed sifaka in Andasibe. Photo: Lynne Venart.

Our reforestation corridor project connecting Andasibe-Mantadia National Park and Analamazoatra Special Reserve contains the following species within the landscape:

  • Aye-aye, Daubentonia madagascariensis (Endangered, Population Declining)
  • Black and white ruffed lemur, Varecia variegata (Critically Endangered, Population Declining)
  • Brown lemur, Eulemur fulvus (Vulnerable, Population Declining)
  • Diademed sifaka, Propithecus diadema (Critically Endangered, Population Declining)
  • Eastern woolly lemur, Avahi laniger (Vulnerable, Population Declining)
  • Goodman’s mouse lemur, Microcebus lehilahytsara (Vulnerable, Population Declining)
  • Gray bamboo lemur, Hapalemur griseus (Vulnerable, Population Declining)
  • Greater dwarf lemur, Cheirogaleus major (Vulnerable, Declining)
  • Greater sportive lemur, Lepilemur mustilinus (Vulnerable, Population Declining)
  • Hairy-eared dwarf lemur, Allocebus trichotis (Endangered, Population Declining)
  • Indri, Indri indri (Critically Endangered, Population Declining)
  • Red-bellied lemur, Eulemur rubriventer (Vulnerable, Population Declining)

How We Support Local Communities

University of Antananarivo – ADD students visiting our EcoVision tree nursery for the reforestation corridor project, Andasibe, Madagascar.

Field Training Programs for Malagasy Master’s Students in Lemur Ecology, Behavior, & Conservation

A consortium of international lemur specialists was formed in 2021 to create two parallel Field Training Programs with the intention of assisting master’s degree students at the University of Antananarivo. Our goal is to establish annual training programs at the below field sites to support the next generation of Malagasy primatologists.

Mahatsinjo Research Station in the Tsinjoarivo Forest

Students conducted fieldwork at the Mahatsinjo Research Station within the Tsinjoarivo-Ambalaomby Protected Area, with logistics coordinated through the NGO SADABE. Tsinjoarivo forest is a mid-altitude eastern rainforest with ten lemur species. The landscape at Tsinjoarivo covers an east-to-west gradient from degraded fragments with an incomplete lemur community to intact, relatively undisturbed forest with all lemurs present.

University of Antananarivo – ADD students visiting reforestation corridor project for World Lemur Day with partners EcoVision, Mad Dog Initiative, & Association Mitsinjo.

Ampijoroa Field Station in Ankarafantsika National Park

Students also conducted fieldwork at the Ampijoroa Field Station within Ankarafantsika National Park (ANP), with logistics coordinated through the NGO Planet Madagascar. ANP is a dry deciduous forest ecosystem containing eight lemur species, and also contains networks of forest fragments in which lemurs can be studied.

Awards Program

We honor scientists and activists for exceptional contributions to the field of conservation and preservation of biodiversity. Individuals may be nominated for awards by peers, mentors, and/or colleagues.

  • The Devoted to Discovery: Women Scientist Conservation Award recognizes the extraordinary and cutting-edge scientific work of women in conservation science. Women in science are encouraged to seek nominations.
  • The Advocates for Change: Future Conservationist & Activist Award honours the remarkable achievements of early-career conversationists and activists in applied conservation.

Students, educators, experts, and community activists are encouraged to seek nominations.

 

World Lemur Day booth in Maromizaha, Madagascar.

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ExplorerHome Madagascar

What We Do

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

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

Our work is designed to reach children (5 to 15 years old) and their families. ExplorerHome’s field-based and online programs give a platform to STEM fields, scientists and offer science outreach, education, and entertainment!

How We Protect Lemurs And Other Wildlife

Our work helps to protect Madagascar’s precious ecosystems by doing the following:

  • Training the scientists of the future who will help contribute to important research to inform conservation in Madagascar
  • Delivering field programs which raise the profile of the primatology discipline and teach important scientific skills such as field methods and data collection
  • By providing education on and raising awareness of important global issues such as loss of biodiversity and climate change

How We Support Local Communities

We provide science education, hands-on training and help raise awareness of scientific disciplines in Madagascar. This creates opportunities within communities and a platform for STEM communication.

Training

Our field programs “Sciencing Out” and “Bioblitz” allow students to experience practical science and exploration. On “Sciencing Out” knowledge is shared by professional scientists leading each topic, and students gather experience of field methods and data collection. On “Bioblitz” students have access to apps such as iNaturalist and Seek to observe and identify species.

Online programs

We have developed 5 programs all centered on three main components: STEM fields, Scientists, and non-scientists. These programs provide a platform for scientists to share their works and incorporate adapted science communication tools to make information more accessible to communities in the form of video. ExplorerHome staff edit and share short storytelling videos to convey messages. Social media platforms Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube are used to broadcast these short educative and informative videos featuring the 5 programs: Ask A Scientist, One word a day, Science facts, Happy Place and the SCiTia program.

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Madagascar Lemurs Portal

What We Do

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

It is an online project which aims to reach the public at large: both Malagasy and international users. The project is supported by the Madagascar Biodiversity Fund.

Our office is based in Antananarivo, yet several capacity sessions are conducted by the lemur portal team in different regions of Madagascar where local NGO and partners are based. Training has so far been provided in Toamasina (Eastern region), Mahajanga (Western region), Ranomafana (Southeastern region), Morondava (Southwestern region), Mahajanga (Western region), and Antananarivo (Central region).

How We Protect Lemurs And Other Wildlife

We help protect lemurs and Malagasy wildlife through championing the sharing of conservation information and knowledge to inform research and policy.

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

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

Knowledge Dissemination

Data collection on lemur and awareness raising to the local communities

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

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

This online platform aims to be a technically and scientifically robust, user-friendly, open-access tool that is regularly used by a wide range of user groups; and provides essential information for conservation evaluation and decision making processes (e.g., IUCN Red List assessments and donor and partner monitoring of protected area effectiveness); and that is continuously evolving with the addition of new data shared among users.

How We Support Local Communities

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

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

Information, communication, and education (ICE)

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

Over two years, we have trained more than 300 local technicians from various regions of Madagascar.
Data/information from local NGO’s and community will be transferred via the lemur portal to decision-makers, tourists, and international organizations for lobbying and raising awareness.

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Conservation International

Conservation International Madagascar

What We Do

For more than 25 years, Conservation International (CI) has been protecting nature for the benefit of human wellbeing. Thanks to the help of our 900 person staff, we now reach communities in over 30 countries to help build a healthier, more prosperous, and more productive planet.

CI’s impact on lemur and environmental conservation in Madagascar is achieved through on-the-ground work and through research, publication, and grant-giving initiatives at the international level.

How We Protect Lemurs And Other Wildlife

CI has been working on a variety of programs in Madagascar since 1980 including biodiversity protection, environmental policy, and community programs. At the international level, CI’s Primate Action Fund—in partnership with the Margot Marsh Biodiversity Foundation—has contributed to global biodiversity conservation by providing strategically targeted, catalytic support for the conservation of endangered nonhuman primates and their natural habitats for over ten years. In addition, CI is well known for its role in publishing newsletters, journals, and books that aim to connect field researchers, conservationists, and captive-care professionals. Notably, CI was a key supporter and financier of the Lemur Action Plan; the document around which this website was built.
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Other CI publications include:

  • The Tropical Field Guide series, which includes Lemurs of Madagascar and various other pocket guides
  • Primate Conservation, an open access scientific journal which publishes in-depth articles of interest to primate conservationists
  • Dozens of articles, reports, and scientific manuscripts published by CI employees about their work in Madagascar and across sub-Saharan Africa more broadly

In addition to working on-the-ground in Madagascar, CI develops the tools needed by governments and NGOs around the world to combat habitat degradation. One example of this, is Firecast, which is a fully automated analysis and alert system that uses satellite image technology to provide real time updates about active fires and fire risks to users around the world. This technology has been used in Madagascar to analyze fire risk in the country’s national parks, and helps track where fires are most likely to occur and when.

What Lemur Species We Protect

Through the Primate Action Fund, CI has helped fund conservation programs for dozens of lemur species, including everything from basic research on the northern sportive lemur (which has less than 50 individuals left in the wild) to the impacts of cyclones on black-and-white-ruffed lemurs in eastern Malagasy rainforests. In addition, the organization’s work on the ground (such as in the Ankeniheny-Zahamena Corridor – one of the largest vestiges of dense rainforest in the country) has impacted well over thirty species.

How We Support Local Communities

Conservation International
In Madagascar, CI works closely with local communities to increase its impact by providing financial and technical support, building capacity, and supporting strategies of development towards a green economy. Financial support is provided both by headquarters – through the Primate Action Fund and via other initiatives – and by programs managed by country-level staff.

For example, the Node Small Grants Program awarded small subsidies to local communities in order to provide economic incentives for conservation programming. This enabled communities to undertake environmental conservation activities while improving local livelihoods. This program funded 316 micro-projects benefiting over 7700 households in six sites around Madagascar through 11 partner organizations.

Conservation International

Another example, CI’s Project Tokantrano Salama brought family planning services, access to drinking water, and sanitation services to areas in Madagascar with high biodiversity. Coupled with environmental education, this program aimed to decrease the impact on natural areas and to increase human wellbeing.

Finally, CI has worked—and continues to work—with local communities on a variety of eco-tourism projects. In the past, they helped build the capacity for communities to manage parcels of forest (100 to 2500 hectare) in eastern Madagascar. This project aimed to impact over 74,000 people in 23 towns along the Ankeniheny-Zahamena Corridor, a 384,000 ha forest that contains vast amounts of Madagascar’s biodiversity.

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WWF Madagascar

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WWF Madagascar

What We Do

WWF Madagascar has been at the forefront of lemur conservation in Madagascar for over fifty years. Our first ever project involved setting up a small reserve dedicated to the protection and prosperity of the Aye-aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis), leading to the creation of the Nosy Mangabe special reserve. Since then, lemurs have remained some of the organization’s priority species at our project sites across the island.

How We Protect Lemurs And Other Wildlife

Habitat protection

WWF has been, and continues to be involved in, the establishment and management of many protected areas across Madagascar, which serve to conserve and protect threatened habitats for many lemur species as well as a wide variety of other flora and fauna. In addition, WWF Madagascar carries out a range of actions in Madagascar aimed at protecting habitat. For example, in the Northern Forest Landscape, WWF trains and equips local communities to perform forest patrols. One of the functions of the patrols is to collect information on species locations and populations. Both the presence of the patrols and the data they collect are being used to combat poaching of lemurs and other animal species.

WWF are currently working on habitat protection issues across Madagascar in many sites, including: Marojejy, Kirindy Mitea, Tsimanampesotoe, Amoron’i Onilahy, Ankodida, Corridor Marojejy Tsaratanana, Anjanaharibe Sud, Nord Ifotaka, and Ranobe PK 32.

Influencing environmental policy

WWF Madagascar, and WWF as a whole, are able to raise awareness of the threats facing lemurs at the national and international level. An example of the positive impacts of our work include WWF’s debt-for-nature concept, which pioneered the idea that a nation’s debt could be bought in exchange for in-country conservation programming. WWF has used this program to generate over $50 million (USD) of funding in Madagascar for conservation from 1989 to 2008. In addition, WWF Madagascar was a key facilitator in the First International Conference on the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources in Madagascar; this meeting was the foundation of the National Environmental Action Plan that was later implemented in Madagascar in the 1980s.

What Lemur Species We Protect

WWF daubentonia madagascariensis

An Aye-aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis).

Over the years, WWF Madagascar has been key to the protection of many different lemur species. Nowadays, and alongside ongoing projects to protect numerous lemur species, WWF’s strategy identifies the Silky simpona (Propithecus candidus) as one of our flagship species for the Northern Forest Landscape, the largest remaining stand of humid forest in Madagascar.

In 2011, WWF, in collaboration with Dr. Erik Patel, and international expert on the Silky simpona, conducted a vulnerability analysis on this species; the first of its kind. This groundbreaking research helped conservationists understand more about the different threats facing a species, and was expanded in 2012 in collaboration with the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) and again in 2014 with the help of GERP. This research now helps scientists and organizations better plan their conservation programs.

WWF Madagascar has performed fieldwork to collect vulnerability data and information on species viability. The has helped to understand the factors that render the Silky simpona vulnerable, in order to start implementing adapted management measures that will help the species to face future climate and non-climate pressures.

How We Support Local Communities

WWF puts local communities at the center of conservation projects. Local communities that live closest to valuable, fragile lemur habitats are pivotal to the success of lemur conservation because they are the ones interacting with, living in and depending on the forests and species on a daily basis.

WWF manages a wide array of social development programming; in the past, the organization has developed eco-tourism projects, designed public health programs, and even worked with the Malagasy government to create eco-labels for Malagasy shrimp which are traded on the international market through the shrimp aquaculture industry.

WWF Team_Anadapa(Halleux)

WWF Madagascar’s team working in Andapa.

Local conservation management

In the Northern Forest Landscape, a green belt composed of 39 community-based managed areas is being established around the created protected area of COMATSA (245,000 ha). Each area managed by local communities first undergoes a zoning process and then local management plans are developed. As the Silky simpona is a flagship species for the entire area, activities related to its conservation and resilience building will be developed for the protected areas as well as for all the community-managed areas where the species is present.

Environmental education

Since 1987, WWF Madagascar has been growing its environmental education program, in collaboration with the Malagasy Ministry of Education. The program now has 515 student clubs across 46 districts in Madagascar and impacts over 50,000 students in the country. In addition, the program also prints the Vintsy Magazine, an environmentally focused publication, which has been in print for 64 issues.

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University of Antananarivo

About the Mention Anthropobiologique et développement durable

The Mention Anthropobiologie et Développement Durable (ADD) houses the unique, primatology laboratory at the University of Madagascar which contains both lemuroid subfossils and holotypes of living lemurs.

ADD’s main objectives are to:

  • provide training programs about primates,
  • undertake research endeavors, and
  • promote conservation efforts.

The academics and technicians associated with this program partner with institutions at the national and international level including with non-profits, community associations, and government entities.

ADD is key to improving the abilities of Malagasy university students and helping them become leaders in the field of conservation. This is important as conservation does not just stop with protecting lemurs, but needs to encompass education, awareness raising, and helping local communities take ownership of — and actively engage with — conservation programming.

As a result of ADD, students and alumni now work in many different agencies and institutions within the country. Looking forward, ADD aims to continue working towards programming that supports and promotes the work of researchers and conservationists in Madagascar in a sustainable way.

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Chances for Nature

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What We Do

Chances for natureChances for Nature spread, communicate, and promote sustainable natural resource use techniques as well as raise awareness for Madagascar’s extraordinary biodiversity. We achieve these goals through outreach, education and capacity building in small villages in rural Madagascar. Chances for Nature currently focuses many of its efforts in Central Menabe (west Madagascar), but does not limit its education initiatives to just this region.

How We Protect Lemurs And Other Wildlife

Our work contributes to protecting lemurs by promoting sustainable use of natural resources. We work in areas which are home to lemur species and so this helps to limit negative impacts on lemur habitat.

What Lemur Species We Protect

Chances for nature - mouse lemurThe area where we have focused many of our efforts, in west Madagascar, is home to the largest remaining dry deciduous forest of Western Madagascar. This unique ecosystem is home to high floral and faunal diversity, including the world’s smallest primate: Madame Berthe’s mouse lemur (Microcebus berthae).

How We Support Local Communities

Chances for Nature works closely with local communities in order to establish new programs that help spread information about how natural resources can be used sustainably in remote and resource-poor communities. The work is done in close collaboration with local communities and involves a partnership with people and elected officials in the areas where Chances for Nature works.

Environmental education

Chances for nature OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe use Malagasy-language multimedia presentations and films to promote sustainable use of natural resources. In 2013, we produced a film designed to illustrate the uniqueness of Madagascar’s biodiversity; the film also explained the consequences of unsustainable use of natural resources and presented three alternative sustainable techniques and behaviors that could be used to improve the lives of local people while reducing natural resource depletion. This film, as well as other multimedia presentations, reached Malagasy communities in 2013 and 2014 through the help of a mobile cinema. This mobile cinema works exclusively through pedal (bicycle) power and thus reaches a large amount of people – even in remote areas without electricity. The cinema was even used to raise awareness and supplement environmental education in several Malagasy schools.

Presentations have focused on educating Malagasy communities about:

  • SRI (Sustainable Rice Intensification)
  • Combining fish breeding with rice cultivation
  • Self-made ecological stoves (Fatana mitsitsy or Fatapera mitsitsy)
  • The benefits of ecological stoves (Fatana mitsitsy)
  • Ecologically-friendly charcoal

Ecological stoves

Chances for natureAs 80% of the energy consumption in Madagascar is used for cooking, the use of environmentally-friendly stoves can have a positive impact on habitat protection. Our approach combines environmental education, the promotion of sustainable techniques and behaviors, and modern media which has turned out to be very successful and motivated two communities to build and use the stoves.

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Madagascar Oasis

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What We Do

Madagascar Oasis Photo1At Madagascar Oasis we work with Madagascar’s national and largest zoo: Tsimbazaza Zoo, to increase the effectiveness of its captive lemur outreach. A major portion of our activities involve refurbishing and updating the zoo, which houses several species of lemur and is often the only way in which urban Malagasy citizens are able to interact with their country’s most famous animals.

Our work also focuses on increasing urban well-being by creating green spaces (parks with trees, flowers, and other vegetation) throughout the capital city of Madagascar, which is home to over 2 million people. We help improve the environment here for better health of residents and to educate children to appreciate nature from an early age.

How We Protect Lemurs And Other Wildlife

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One our larger projects at Madagascar Oasis involves the renovation of the Tsimbazaza Zoo, which accommodates over 400,000 visitors per year. The zoo, which is one of the only ways that the capital city’s 2 million residents can see lemurs, is key to many in-country outreach programs. In fact, schools from a 200 kilometer radius make sure to send their students on class trips to the zoo on a yearly basis. Given the zoo’s high visibility and importance to lemur conservation, Madagascar Oasis aims to transform the zoo into a showcase where citizens and tourists will be able to appreciate Madagascar’s biodiversity. As such, we are refurbishing the zoo’s basic infrastructure, including rebuilding pathways and providing lemurs with newer and more spacious enclosures. We have been working on this project since May 2013, and will also work to ensure that plant and animal descriptions across the zoo are updated, uniform, and informative. We hope that this important work will increase visitation by 15% which amounts to an extra 5,000 visitors per month!


What Lemur Species We Protect

Our work with Tsimbazaza Zoo helps protect the lemur species it houses, including:

  • Ring-tailed lemur (Lemur catta)
  • Brown lemur (Eulemur fulvus)
  • Black-and-white ruffed lemur (Varecia variegata)
  • Red-bellied lemur (Eulemur rubriventer)

How We Support Local Communities

Madagascar Oasis Photo4Our philosophy at Madagascar Oasis is to only initiate projects that fulfill a need in the local community and require minimum maintenance once they are complete. We make sure to always involve the local community throughout the projects we undertake, including prioritizing projects, gaining approval from decision-makers, implementation, and handing the project over to a local entity.

We ensure that programs set up by us continue, following the hand-over to a local organization. This involves providing technical training where necessary and discussing ideas with local communities of how revenue could be generated to ensure program continuity.

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