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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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Green Again Madagascar

Green Again Madagascar

What We Do

Through the combination of rainforest restoration, scientific study, and hands-on education, we help rural Malagasy farmers make Madagascar “green again.”

We are a not-for-profit organization enabling rural Malagasy farmers to reforest their family-land with all-native tree species. Green Again employs a data-intensive approach to rainforest restoration that allows our findings to further the worldwide scientific community’s understanding of these little-studied Malagasy tree species which constitute the rainforests that are habitat for nearly 5% of the world’s biodiversity.

What makes us unique is our truly “bottom-up” approach. Our reforested plots will last longer because the landowners themselves seek our help and the community members from within are putting hundreds of hours into growing the nurseries, planting the trees, and performing extended care in collaboration with our science team.

Matt Hill founded Green Again after relocating to Madagascar and falling in love with its primary rainforests. Photo: Green Again.

How We Began

In November 2013, a man’s charcoal fire burned out of control, starting a massive forest fire on the Eastern coast of Madagascar. The fire ravaged the man’s land as well as over 20 acres of nearby rain forest.

Green Again formed in response to this tragedy. With participation from local villagers and support from academic advisers at the University of Tamatave, Green Again is working to restore the burned areas.

How We Protect Lemurs and Other Wildlife

Growing seedlings for reforestation. Photo: Green Again.

Restoring the Rainforest Canopy

Our objective is to restore the rainforest canopy to this area within ten years. To date, we’ve planted 66 Malagasy species and the trees are growing fast. There’s already a slight canopy forming and several invasive species such as the eucalyptus, acacia, and guava are being naturally eliminated as the native rainforest is restored to full health.

See Our Impact

Scientific Research about Tree Species

A core part of our work is to collect scientific observations on the growth and survival of the tree species involved in the restoration. Our team has a rigorous approach to collecting, entering and analyzing data in order to continually improve results. Using our data, we’ve tested 5 planting frameworks, 4 germination experiments, and several planting treatments.

How We Support Local Communities

Collecting scientific data about tree species. Photo: Green Again.

Our goal is to include the Malagasy people in the restoration work in a way that allows them to improve their standard of living while restoring barren land back into primary forest reserves. We hire Malagasy individuals directly from the rural communities where we work, and we train farmers to reforest their lands and creating opportunities for sustainable land use practices.

Education

We empower Malagasy individuals with knowledge and skill sets, therefore contributing to each village’s collective consciousness. By participating in the collection of scientific data, GreenAgain’s crew members receive advanced education opportunities in reading, writing, ecology, mathematics, computer-usage, and accounting. These opportunites would not otherwise be available so deep in the countryside.

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Association Mitsinjo

Mitsinjo Logo

Association Mitsinjo


What We Do

Association Mitsinjo was created in 1999 by the residents of Andasibe village in central Madagascar to cater to the growing number of tourists visiting the region. At Association Mitsinjo we work for the conservation of biodiversity and the sustainable development of the Andasibe region (central Madagascar) and beyond. This involves managing the forest station at the Analamazoatra Special Reserve, located next to the Andasibe-Mantadia National Park.

How We Protect Lemurs And Other Wildlife

One of the Indris.

One of the Indri lemurs!

Association Mitsinjo has been managing the forest station at Analamazoatra Special Reserve since 2003, and we have a contract to manage this program until 2037. We aim to preserve and restore 700 hectares of rainforest in this region into pristine lemur habitat.

To date, logging and hunting using snares has almost stopped completely in this area. In addition, by the end of 2022 we have aleady restored almost 500 hectares using native trees grown in the Association’s nurseries. As a result, Indri populations have increased and the area has become a highlight for tourists visiting Madagascar.

Prolemur simus research.

A Greater Bamboo Lemur (Prolemur simus) being held by a researcher.

What Lemur Species We Protect

More than 11 species of lemurs are known to inhabit the two protected areas managed by Association Mitsinjo. The following species are the focus of several Association Mitsinjo programs:

  • Black-and-white ruffed lemur (Varecia variegata)
  • Greater bamboo lemur (Prolemur simus)
  • Indri (Indri indri)

How We Support Local Communities

As a community-based Malagasy conservation organization, all of our members are from the local community. To facilitate sustainable use of habitat, we have established a long-term management contract for our rainforest site. Preservation of this area, for both people and lemurs, form the core of our sustainability strategy.

We have engaged in a variety of social development and capacity building programs for local communities, including:

  • The construction of a primary school
  • Community-based monitoring of lemurs, birds, and frogs
  • Promotion of ecotourism and novel agricultural techniques
  • The establishment of a lemur research camp
Children planting rainforest trees.

Children planting rainforest trees. Photo: Association Mitsinjo.

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Money for Madagascar

Money for Madagascar

What We Do

At Money for Madagascar (MfM) our mission is to enable Malagasy people to reduce poverty and protect their unique environment through sustainable, community-led initiatives.

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

How We Protect Lemurs And Other Wildlife

Reforestation around Andasibe and Torotorofotsy with Association Mitsinjo


Since 2015, MfM has been working in partnership with Association Mitsinjo to gradually increase the area of restored forest around Andasibe at a rate of about 10ha per year. This has restored vital habitat for the forest’s wildlife.

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

What Lemur Species We Protect

By planting corridors to join isolated fragments of primary forest, the reforestation project around Andasibe and Torotorofotsy is extending the habitat for many endangered species such as the Indri (Indri indri) lemur.

How We Support Local Communities

Reforestation work has provided vital employment opportunities for local people and environmental education has helped to raise awareness of the value of the forests.

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

Supporting the development of sustainable livelihoods in these isolated communities is vital for the long-term success of Mitsinjo’s conservation and restoration efforts. 90% of the population living around the Torotorofotsy Protected Area are extremely poor and heavily dependent on the forest and wetland to meet their basic needs. Away from the eco-tourism hub of Andasibe village, they see less of the obvious benefits of keeping the forest intact. However, without their support for forest restoration and conservation, unsustainable subsistence agriculture, wildlife poaching and illegal logging will continue unabated, transforming this unique ecosystem into rice fields and destroying its rich biodiversity.

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

Betampona Reserve Livelihoods Project

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

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

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

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

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Ny Tanintsika

Ny Tanintsika

What We Do

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.

How We Protect Lemurs And Other Wildlife

Whilst focusing on Golden Bamboo Lemur (Hapalemur aureus) species, we are gathering data on all primates in the previously unresearched forests of Ambohimahamasina and three neighbouring areas. Data collection on lemurs is conducted by local stakeholders, and forest inhabitants will become lemur monitors to ensure project sustainability.

Additionally, 12 signs encouraging lemur conservation are being erected along Ambohimahamasina’s 3 main forest footpaths crossing to the eastern side of the forest ‘corridor’.

What Lemur Species We Protect

We target 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)

How We Support Local Communities

Support is being given to forest inhabitants to make their lifestyles more sustainable, which is beneficial to human communities and nature. Agricultural production on deforested land is 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 are 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.

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Man and the Environment: Net Positive Impact Program

Man and the Environment’s Net Positive Impact program

What We Do

The main objective of Man and the Environment’s Net Positive Impact program is to ensure long-term forest and lemur conservation, as well as overall biodiversity conservation, through the involvement of local communities. This includes management programs and economic activities in support of the environment.

Net Positive Impact is a program of the Non-Governmental Organization Man and the Environment. We are a French organization working in East and Northwest Madagascar.

How We Protect Lemurs And Other Wildlife

Habitat Protection

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

Ecotourism

Infrastructure to develop ecotourism has been constructed in the Vohimana Forest. The goal is to raise awareness among visitors and the Malagasy community about the site’s biodiversity and protection, and to create a sustainable income source for the local people working on the project. Visitors are encouraged to participate in monitoring species.

Environmental Policy

We promote sustainable lemur conservation through the design of management plans, including local communities’ development and private sector involvement.

What Lemur Species We Protect

Varecia Variegata from the Vohimana forest.

Net Positive Impact operates in three locations.

The Vohimana forest in the Mantadia – Zahamena:

  • Indri Indri indri
  • Diademed sifaka Propithecus diadema
  • Black-and-white ruffed Lemur Varecia variegata
  • Eastern lesser bamboo lemur Hapalemur griseus
  • Red-bellied lemur Eulemur rubriventer
  • Common brown lemur Eulemur fulvus
  • Goodman’s mouse lemur Microcebus lehilahytsara
  • Eastern woolly lemur Avahi laniger
  • Weasel sportive lemur lepilemur mustelinus
  • Greater dwarf lemur Cheirogaleus major
  • Aye-aye Daubentonia madagascariensis
  • Hairy-eared dwarf lemur Allocebus trichotis
  • Brown mouse lemur Microcebus rufus

Indri Indri from the Vohimana forest

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

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

The Ambalakalanoro forest in the north-west coast: 

  • Verraux’s sifaka Propithecus verreauxi
  • Common brown lemur Eulemur fulvus
  • Gray mouse lemur Microcebus murinus
  • Fat-tailed dwarf lemur Cheirogaleus medius
  • Mongoose lemur Eulemur mongoz
  • Western lesser bamboo lemur Hapalemur occidentalis
  • Masoala fork-marked lemur Phaner furcifer
  • Western woolly lemur Avahi occidentalis
  • Milne-Edwards’ sportive lemur Lepilemur edwarsi

How We Support Local Communities

Community Partnerships and Sustainability

Net Positive Impact partners with local organizations to ensure projects’ sustainability and community involvement. For the Vohimana project, the partners are different local associations, Mercie Vohimana, Manarapenitra, Zanatany, each specialized in a field. For the Ambalakalanoro project, the partner is the local district. For the Tsaramandroso project, the partners are VOI Mamelonarivo and CIRAD.

Social support

The income generated from ecotourism will be redistributed to the school and the health center that we constructed in a village near Vohimana, Ambavaniasy. The objectives are to improve the living conditions of local communities, enhance education access and reduce risk of disease. Secondly, protecting the forest for ecotourism will be shown to be a potential route to improving living conditions in the area, encouraging villagers to protect it and thus the species living in it.

Eulemur Rubriventer from the Vohimana forest

Sustainable agriculture productivity improvement

The objective is to support environment-friendly agriculture to prevent slash-and-burn farming or other practices jeopardizing biodiversity. We started a program of ginger cultivation with 120 villagers around the forest. A distillery of essential oil has been constructed and is managed by local workers. Ginger seeds have been given to selected farmers and Malagasy firms will buy the production.

The former traditional practices were participating in the destruction of the forest. Slash-and-burn cultures, as well as charcoal production, threaten the forest and the wildlife it shelters. It is clear that other income-generating activities linked to sustainable natural resources’ use could be promoted to support conservation.

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Madagascar Wildlife Conservation (MWC)

Madagascar Wildlife Conservation

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

University of Hanover

Institute of Zoology, University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover

What We Do

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

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

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

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.

How We Protect Lemurs And Other Wildlife

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

In addition to our 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.

What Lemur Species We Protect

In the Ankarafantsika National Park, our 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)

How We Support Local Communities

Species and habitat conservation cannot be achieved without involving the Malagasy community and 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
  6. contribute to local capacity building of students and local field assistants
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