The Reniala NGO works to rehabilitate lemurs from the illegal pet trade in southwest Madagascar.
Supporting lemur conservation through habitat protecting and captive lemur rehabilitation
The Reniala NGO aims to protect the forests of the Reniala reserve, rehabilitate lemurs from the bushmeat and pet trade at the Lemur Rescue Center, and develop alternative livelihood projects such as beekeeping.
What lemur species does the Reniala NGO protect?
The Reniala NGO protects several species of lemur through their activities, including ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta).
Through their work, the organization facilitates research programs on ring-tailed lemurs including researchers from the United States and from within Madagascar. Research projects include nocturnal lemur monitoring through camera traps as well as many projects examining lemur behavior, feeding, and health, as well as social science studies on the attitudes of local communities towards wildlife.
How does the Reniala NGO protect habitat for lemur conservation?
The Reniala NGO manages a 6 km-squared protected area of dry spiny forest, located 29 km north of Toliara, a larger city in southwest Madagascar.
Helping lemurs in captivity
The Lemur Rescue Center (LRC) – which is one of the Reniala NGO’s projects – houses 25 individual ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta) which were confiscated as part of the illegal pet and bushmeat trades in Madagascar. This project aims to care for, rehabilitate, and eventually release these lemurs back into the wild. It is hoped that the lemurs will be reintroduced into the Reniala Reserve, which is a forest that is managed by the organization. In addition, the organization anticipates it will play a larger role in the rehabilitation and transport of lemurs across Madagascar in the next few years.
Rehabilitation and reintroduction of lemurs into the wild is not an easy process; the Reniala NGO is one of the few facilities in Madagascar that is authorized to undertake this work. Ring-tailed lemurs – like any other lemur species – are difficult to reintroduce into the wild. Therefore, animals that cannot be released – such as those that have lost the ability to forage for food – will be cared for at the center for the duration of their lives.
Given the scale of the pet and bushmeat trade in Madagascar, there are always more lemurs waiting to be rehabilitated than the facility can hold. Therefore, efforts are underway to increase the capacity of the Rescue Center over the next few years.
Conservation International protects lemurs and Madagascar’s biodiversity by improving human wellbeing, capacity building, and on-the-ground programming.
Supporting lemur conservation at the international and national level since 1980.
For more than 25 years, Conservation International (CI) has been protecting nature for the benefit of human wellbeing. Thanks to the help of its 900 person staff, the organization now impacts 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. 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. Other CI publications include:
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 all of its work, some of CI’s largest impacts come from its ability to connect with the public about the need to conserve nature; most recently, the organization’s Nature is Speaking campaign resonated with tens of thousands of people across the globe. This amplification strategy helps communicate success stories to the public and to other organizations and helps motivate change not only in CI’s priority regions but across the world globally.
What lemur species does Conservation International 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, which is one of the largest vestiges of dense rainforest in the country—has impacted well over thirty species.
How is Conservation International protecting habitat for lemur conservation?
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.
Partnering with local communities
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 programs funded 316 micro-projects benefiting over 7700 households in six sites around Madagascar through 11 partner organizations.
As 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.
WWF Madagascar has been paving the way for lemur conservation in Madagascar for over half a century.
Supporting lemur conservation since 1964 with on-the-ground work in Madagascar
WWF Madagascar has been at the forefront of lemur conservation in Madagascar for over fifty years. Their first ever project involved setting up a small reserve dedicated to the protection and prosperity of the Aye-aye, leading to the creation of the Nosy Mangabe special reserve. Since then, lemurs have remained some the organization’s priority species at their project sites across the island.
What lemur species does WWF Madagascar protect?
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 (Fiscal years 2012 to 2016) identifies the Silky simpona (Propithecus candidus) as one of their 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 (now at the Duke Lemur Center), and international expert on the Silky simpona – conducted a vulnerability analysis on this species; the first of its kind.
This groundbreaking research – which helps conservationists understand more about the different threats facing a species – 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 is currently performing fieldwork to collect vulnerability data and information on species viability. This project began in December 2014 and will be followed by updates of the Vulnerability Analysis (VA) until the end of 2017. The aim is 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 is WWF Madagascar protecting habitat for lemur conservation?
Verreaux’s Sifaka (Propithecus verreauxi).
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 to help lemurs
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 their 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.
Partnering with local communities
WWF puts local communities at the center of their 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 Madagascar’s team working in Andapa.
WWF manages a wide array of social development programming; in the past, the organization has developing 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.
Local conservation management
In the Northern Forest Landscape, a green belt composed of 39 community-based managed areas is currently being established around the newly 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.
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.
Ho Avy uses reforestation and alternative livelihoods to protect biodiversity in southwest Madagascar.
Supporting lemur conservation through habitat protection and outreach
Ho Avy is a grassroots project in the arid spiny forest of southwestern Madagascar. Based on field research initiated in 2007, Ho Avy has designed and developed a unique long-term approach promoting environmental stewardship through alternative and sustainable livelihoods. The organization is a collaborative effort between the Ho Avy association in Madagascar and New Latitude, a US-based non-profit. Since 2007, rural farming and costal community association’s have been collaborating with Ho Avy to propagate tree seedlings as part of an ongoing ecological reforestation model, adapted specifically to southwestern Madagascar’s endemic arid forest.
In parallel with Ho Avy’s forestry, the NGO has initiated development projects ranging from water infrastructure to local communities, a field/tourism station, and community environmental initiatives including a biogas system, university teaching, advising masters students, primary school gardens, ecological research and conservation.
How is Ho Avy protecting habitat for lemur conservation?
Achieving high germination rates and survival of saplings (which is critical to achieving rapid reforestation) has been challenging due to southern Madagascar’ arid climate. However, trial and error has made it possible to overcome these hurdles.
Ho Avy works in the Southern Mikea forest region which has the highest diversity of lemurs and vertebrates in the expansive 6.6 million hectare ‘spiny forest region’. However the current local situation is that humans need a growing amount of resources from the land and sea which until recent times have been seemingly inexhaustible. Therefore, innovative and applied approaches, like ecological forest restoration, are needed to identify practical strategies that mitigate the current trend of extensive habitat loss in the spiny forest.
The Ho Avy project originated out of an international collaborative research initiative that aimed to assess:
1) the ‘spontaneous regeneration’ of spiny forest plant species after logging, and
2) to see if reforestation would be possible with local communities.
One thousand trees were planted in the first year. Since then, the NGO has incrementally grown a network dozens of local collaborators at four nursery sites resulting in the growth of more than 100,000 tree seedlings of more than 100 species. Transplanted seedlings have reforested more than 10 hectares of degraded forest edges with Ho Avy being the only project in the southwest region with a track record of successful ecological reforestation on both upland dry and riparian spiny forest habitats. These habitats are the most critical in the regions for the eight species of lemur. Ho Avy has been undertaking research – in partnership with Malagasy students from the University of Toliara – to help increase the effectiveness of its reforestation efforts.
However, habitat conservation is easier said than done in southwest Madagascar where only 2% of the forest is formally protected, and around 1% is deforested every year, the fastest rate of deforestation anywhere on Madagascar. Even though the spiny forest is Madagascar most continuous forest and more than 98% of plant and 90% of animal’s species are endemic to this ecosystem, if comprehensive reform is not enacted quickly, many of these one-of-a-kind-species are threatened by extinction due to habitat loss.
Partnering with local communities
Further research is critical to achieving lasting solutions that mitigate habitat loss and extinction of biodiversity in southwest Madagascar.
Ho Avy means ‘the future’ in the Malagasy language, and as the name of the project suggests, in Malagasy, the mission of the project is to work towards approaches that adapt to local realities and work in real time to maximize synergies between conservation and peoples well being.
Ho Avy has been working towards sustainable and participatory development through a framework named ‘Interactive Restoration’. This means partnering with communities, identifying and protecting terrestrial and marine natural resources, and building logistical and human capacity to promote alternative livelihoods that are ecologically sustainable.
In addition Ho Avy is in the process of developing ecotourism and research infrastructure in the spiny forest to help expand awareness, and further opportunities and results for lemur habitat conservation. Ho Avy has a detailed plan how this initial infrastructure has enormous potential to catalyze future conservation efforts for lemur’s and countless other endangered species endemic to the spiny forest.
Given Ho Avy’s collaborative nature and framework for action, it has established deep relations with the broader community in southwestern Madagascar and will be focusing on three main general themes with local communities: research, environmental awareness/capacity building application and the creation of sustainable alternative livelihoods.
In the next year(s) the NGO seeks to scale-up it’s current pilot efforts by establishing a formal Ecological Farm & Forest Regeneration Training Program, adapted to southwest Madagascar. Ho Avy is collaborating with Michigan State University to exact the pilot model, diversity research possibilities, and ultimately to make a broader positive impact on the lives of people and biodiversity in need in the Toliara region.
Lemur Love conducts scientific research and partners with Malagasy women to build capacity and promote conservation.
Lemur Love believes in leveraging both the heart and the mind in the movement to preserve Madagascar’s unique and Endangered primates, the lemurs.
Our goal is to ensure lemurs thrive in their forest homes through the power of women, science, and our extended global ‘troop’. We envision a world where both lemurs and humans thrive.
Lemur Love conducts and disseminates scientific long-term research on ring-tailed lemur populations in the northern portion of Tsimanampesotse. Moreover, along with our partners at the Pet Lemur Survey, we are committed to understanding the legal and illegal trades of wild lemurs through current and upcoming projects.
Lemur Love believes in investing in women, often underrepresented in both science and on the ground conservation leadership. Malagasy women possess unique insights and local knowledge that are crucial to devising robust solutions that will protect lemurs in the future. Lemur Love is collaborating with Ikala STEM, a women-led association that aims to promote education and science and to raise the profile of women in STEM in Madagascar.
Madagascar Biodiversity Partnership works with communities on comprehensive research and conservation programming.
Supporting Lemur Conservation by believing that everything is connected, or “Mampifandray ny tontolo”
Dr. Louis and Sheila Holmes collecting data from a lemur.
The Madagascar Biodiversity Partnership (MBP) was founded in 2010 by Dr. Edward E. Louis Jr., Director of Conservation Genetics at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium (OHDZA) who has been working in Madagascar since 1998. The MBP strives to protect local forests for the lemurs while sustainably raising the standard of living for communities who are equally reliant upon the natural resources. Believing that everything is connected, or “Mampifandray ny tontolo”, the MBP incorporates research, education and community involvement to achieve sustainability.
What Lemur Species does the Madagascar Biodiversity Project Protect?
A baby Lepilemur septentrionalis being examined.
MBP works across the country to support research and outreach related to several different lemur species, including:
Aye aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis)
Black-and-white ruffed lemurs (Varecia variegata)
Crowned lemur (Eulemur coronatus)
Diademed sifaka (Propithecus diadema)
Greater bamboo lemur (Prolemur simus; only about 300 individuals remain!)
Northern sportive lemur (Lepilemur septentrionalis; only about 50 individuals remain!)
Ring-tailed lemur (Lemur catta)
The MBP is pioneering research on the northern sportive lemurs, whose populations are incredibly small (less than 50 individuals remaining) and who cannot be kept in captivity. In addition – and together with the Malagasy government – they have helped re-establish the diademed sifaka and the black-and-white ruffed lemur to their historical ranges in the Analamazoatra Special Reserve. These populations are now monitored by the MBP year-round. Finally, the MBP uses radio collars and other innovative technology to track lemur populations; this helps increase understanding of how different species use different types of habitat and how conservation programs can effectively protect lemurs in the future.
Teaching planting techniques in rural Madagascar.
How is MBP Protecting Habitat for Lemur Conservation?
MBP is a leader in reforestation efforts in Madagascar, and undertakes programming in west (Andasibe, Kianjavato) and southern Madagascar (Lavavolo). The MBP also undertakes reforestation initiatives in the areas where it is working to distribute fuel-efficient cook stoves in northern Madagascar.
The MBP’s largest reforestation programming is based in Kianjavato and is called the Education Promoting Reforestation Project (EPRP). This program’s success is based on the fact that seeds which have passed through a lemur’s intestinal tract grow better than seeds that haven’t; by collecting the seeds in lemur poop, the MBP has been able to plant over 60,000 trees!
Students from the Kianjavato public school students with trees.
This program – and the associated community education and outreach efforts – have been so successful that they were featured on National Public Radio in the United States and in other media outlets worldwide. Moving forward, the MBP hopes to plant one million trees and restore Kianjavato’s fragmented forest landscape.
Partnering with Local Communities
A member of Single Mothers Club planting trees.
Madagascar has a young and growing population that is increasingly reliant upon the country’s dwindling natural resources, which is compounded by their decreasing GDP. Despite the precarious conditions, there is room for hope. The MBP has initiated multiple community-based conservation efforts and development plans designed to rebalance the relationship between people and the ecosystem; many of their community outreach efforts are conducted together with Conservation Fusion.
Fuel-efficient cook stoves
In partnership with the Omaha Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium and with Conservation Fusion, MBP is undertaking work to reduce the use of charcoal in some areas of Madagascar. Charcoal production – which causes large areas of forest to be cut down in Madagascar and is often unsustainable – is a big threat to lemur populations. MBP has distributed over 100 fuel-efficient cooking stoves and supplements these with hands-on education programs and reforestation initiatives.
Aquaponics is a sustainable food production method that combines techniques used to raise fish for food and hydroponics methods for growing plants in liquid mediums. Properly balanced aquaponics systems can provide large amounts of food, which is important in areas of Madagascar where families are food insecure – meaning, in areas where families do not have access to the food that they need, when they need it. MBP – in partnership with a Omaha-based aquaponics nonprofit – is undertaking pilot programs which will help fine-tune the implementation of this type of equipment on-the-ground in Madagascar.
Prolemur simus eating some bamboo.
As part of the MBP’s ongoing research programs, over 50 Malagasy doctorate and graduate students, 30 Malagasy undergraduate students, and 10 international students have received considerable training in research methods and conservation paradigms. For example, through the MBP’s role in helping to re-establish lemur populations in the Analamazoatra Special Reserve, students and local communities have received training on how to monitor these new populations and how re-establishment programs must be designed in order to be successful.
In addition, the MBP supports 80+ full-time Malagasy employees as field assistants, project supervisors, office employees, and supporting staff members.