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Wildlife Madagascar

Wildlife Madagascar

Supporting Member of the Lemur Conservation Network

What We Do

Wildlife Madagascar is committed to safeguarding biodiversity through habitat protection via management, patrolling and monitoring; developing local sustainable livelihood opportunities and improving food security; and developing ecotourism capacity. Only by bringing local knowledge, practicality, and priorities together with a focused scientific and educational effort will we be successful in protecting Madagascar’s breath-taking biodiversity.

How We Protect Lemurs and Other Wildlife

Indri. Photo: Lytah Razafimahefa.

Forest habitats and wildlife can only be effectively protected if the pressures of human encroachment can be alleviated. We use an integrated conservation and human-development approach to reduce pressure on Madagascar’s globally important forests and wildlife populations. We protect the habitat and provide surrounding communities with sustainable livelihoods and services.

Patrolling and Monitoring the Forest

We provide protection of forest habitats through patrolling and monitoring, training, and border demarcation and enforcement.

Strengthening Communities

While habitat protection is key, working with local communities is integral to success. We aim to increase food security and income generation for local farmers through participatory, sustainable agricultural development and researching the most effective crops and livestock. We aim to strengthen the capacity of local community-based organizations and farmer leaders to facilitate community-based learning for agriculture and livelihood development. We seek to develop alternative livelihoods for community members through ecotourism and other initiatives. We provide support and supplementary education to ensure that children attend and complete primary school and become participants in appreciating and protecting their native wildlife.

What Lemur Species We Protect

Northern Bamboo Lemur. Photo: Lytah Razafimahefa.

The programs implemented by Wildlife Madagascar help protect the following species:

  • Indri (Indri indri)
  • Silky sifaka (Propithecus candidus)
  • White-fronted brown lemur (Eulemur albifrons)
  • Red-bellied lemur (Eulemur rubriventer)
  • Northern bamboo lemur (Hapalemur occidentalis)
  • Eastern woolly lemur (Avahi laniger)
  • Seal’s sportive lemur (Lepilemur seali)
  • Goodman’s mouse lemur (Microcebus lehilahytsara)
  • Greater dwarf lemur (Cheirogaleus major)
  • Hairy-eared dwarf lemur (Allocebus trichotis)
  • Masoala fork-marked lemur (Phaner furcifer)
  • Aye-aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis)

More Animals that Benefit from Our Work

  • Fossa (Cryptoprocta ferox)
  • Malagasy civet (Fossa fossana)
  • Broad-striped mongoose (Galidictis fasciata)
  • Helmet vanga (Euryceros prevostii)
  • Mossy leaf-tailed gecko (Uroplatus sikorae)

How We Support Local Communities

Wildlife Madagascar’s programs target areas adjacent to forest where local communities currently rely on income from logging, poaching, farming, and other extractive practices. Improving farming methods to achieve greater food security will reduce reliance upon forest exploitation and encourage use of alternative food sources. Through experimental learning and action methods, the initial aim of Wildlife Madagascar is to increase yields by exploring sustainable agriculture techniques.

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Green Again Madagascar

A not-for-profit organization enabling rural Malagasy farmers to reforest their family-land with all-native tree species.

What We Do

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

GreenAgain 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.

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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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Photography Inspiring Children in Conservation

What We Do

PICC 2020 students from Ambodiforaha, Masoala,
Madagascar. Photo by Pascal Elison

Our organisation Photography Inspiring Children in Conservation (PICC) is based on the concept of engaging with the natural world through visual arts. Our goal is to inspire Malagasy students to become lemur conservation leaders within their communities by providing them with knowledge of lemur ecology, as well as local conservation issues and solutions. Malagasy students gain skills in photography, illustration, and storytelling, providing an effective foundation upon which they may seek conservation-oriented careers. PICC was designed with a goal of building local capacity for sustainable conservation through educating and empowering both students and the broader community, including local teachers and elders.

The act of creating an image with photography or sketching rewires us to be truly present and see details and beauty on a deeper level of appreciation.

~Kathy West, PICC Director

How We Protect Lemurs And Other Wildlife

Over a two-week period, Malagasy students use customized coloring and activity books, worksheets, field journals, and DSLR cameras to document their local forests and develop scientifically accurate stories and illustrations.
They are encouraged to develop unique lemur conservation ideas, making contributions to their communities using their new skills. A village-wide gathering at the completion of the project celebrates the students’ works and recognizes participants as “Forest Ambassadors”. Equipment remains onsite, accessible to the students and teachers for sustained learning, career development, and conservation work. About 3,000 tourists visit Masoala National Park (NP) per year. One of our goals is to give Malagasy students the opportunity to develop the skills needed to have future careers in ecotourism and conservation, improving their own lives while also protecting lemurs and their habitats.

It is important to foster the development of skills for conservation job opportunities because research has shown that Malagasy people who are involved in ecotourism, and earn their income from sharing wildlife experiences with visitors, will not hunt lemurs and will discourage others from doing so. At the same time, providing training and employability skills to Malagasy students improves livelihoods.

What Lemur Species We Protect

We began our program in June 2020 with the students in the village of Ambodiforaha in northeast Madagascar, adjacent to the stunningly beautiful Masoala National Park, an area rich in biodiversity. This National Park and UNESCO World Heritage site protects as much as 40% of Madagascar’s mammalian diversity. On the Masoala peninsula, 9 out of 10 species of lemurs present are vulnerable, endangered, or critically endangered, with the only remaining populations of some species found in this protected habitat.

PICC supports conservation of the following threatened lemur species in the Masoala NP and forest:

  • Red ruffed lemur (Varecia rubra) (Critically Endangered)
  • White-fronted brown lemur (Eulemur albifrons) (Endangered)
  • Scott’s sportive lemur (Lepilemur scottorum) (Endangered)
  • Moore’s woolly lemur (Avahi mooreorum) (Endangered)
  • Aye-aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis) (Endangered)
  • Hairy-eared dwarf lemur (Allocebus trichotis) (Vulnerable)
  • Masoala fork-marked lemur (Phaner furcifer) (Vulnerable)
  • Seal’s sportive lemur (Lepilemur seali) (Vulnerable)
  • Northern bamboo lemur (Hapalemur occidentalis) (Vulnerable)

How We Support Local Communities

Recognizing that this national park belongs to local communities and the Malagasy people, we aim to help children understand how to identify and maintain healthy ecosystems, as well as to understand the cultural, environmental and economic benefits of protecting lemur habitat.

Pascal Elison teaching PICC 2020 students from
Ambodiforaha, Masoala, Madagascar

Empowering Teachers and Community Elders in Education

In addition to focusing on children, the PICC program includes participation of teachers and elder leaders with traditional ecological knowledge, making the likelihood of program success much higher. This empowers the older community members who have extensive knowledge of native plants and animals and are related to many of the children in the program. Unlike teachers, these elders are seen as local leaders with ancestral ties to the land. This project acknowledges the importance of the Malagasy people’s place in their landscape. We are interested in learning from them, and in returning knowledge to the community through the workshops, books and posters of student writing, illustrations, and photographs. Participating teachers are expanding their knowledge base in order to educate other students and teachers in nearby villages.

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Lemur Conservation Foundation

Lemur Conservation Foundation logoLemur Conservation Foundation

Supporting Member of the Lemur Conservation Network

What We Do

Critically endangered mongoose lemur born at LCF in 2014.

Critically endangered mongoose lemur born at LCF in 2014.

The Lemur Conservation Foundation (LCF) helps conserve lemurs through managed breeding programs, outreach, and on-the-ground conservation in northeast Madagascar.

We are a non-profit corporation dedicated to the preservation and conservation of the primates of Madagascar through managed breeding, scientific research, and education. The foundation (and accompanying lemur reserve) focus on fostering natural lemur behavior to encourage a dynamic population.

LCF supports educational programs started by the late Dr. Alison Jolly in Madagascar and is developing content to bring those programs to classrooms in the United States. In addition, LCF provides financial support to assist in the establishment of a tourist and research camp in Anjanaharibe-Sud Special Reserve in northeast Madagascar, home to the elusive Silky Sifaka and a unique population of Indri with black pelage.

How We Protect Lemurs And Other Wildlife

LCF has partnered with the Madagascar National Parks in Anjanaharibe-Sud Special Reserve (ASSR) to provide boundary demarcations for this protected area and a site called Camp Indri which provides base camp for tourists and researchers. This helps protect habitat for lemurs and other wildlife.

Demarcation signs funded by LCF to outline the boundary of the Anjanaharibe-Sud Special Reserve.

Demarcation signs funded by LCF to outline the boundary of the Anjanaharibe-Sud Special Reserve.

Ex-situ we operate a 100 acre reserve in Myakka City, Florida. The reserve is set up with two semi free-ranging forests, each approximately ten acres, and two traditional enclosure buildings. As a Certified Related Facility with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, LCF participates in the Eulemur Species Survival Plan (SSP), Ruffed Lemur SSP, and Ring-tailed Lemur SSP, which include a global network of institutions working towards the propagation of selected lemur species in order to ensure the healthy existence of those species whose survival is in peril.

LCF also hosts field training programs, in which professors and their students utilize the facility and the lemur colony for behavioral observations and research on social dynamics and cognitive skills, as well as habitat use and food selection. These training programs produce future primatologists and conservation biologists which will carry the conservation imperative forward for lemurs and other endangered species. Fostering and inspiring conservation based careers is an invaluable part of LCF’s mission.

What Lemur Species We Protect

At our reserve in Florida, we house over 45 lemurs of six different species, most of which are critically endangered or endangered. LCF is a Certified Related Facility with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and participates in their Species Survival Plans which work to maintain a genetic safety net for a variety of lemur species. The species currently at the reserve are:

A family of Lemur catta in one of LCF’s semi free-ranging forests, where field students can observe lemurs in a natural environment.

A family of Lemur catta in one of LCF’s semi free-ranging forests, where field students can observe lemurs in a natural environment.

  • Collared lemur (Eulemur collaris)
  • Mongoose lemur (Eulemur mongoz)
  • Sanford’s lemur (Eulemur sanfordi)
  • Common brown lemur (Eulemur fulvus)
  • Red ruffed lemur (Varecia rubra)
  • Ring-tailed lemur (Lemur catta)

LCF is supporting projects in Anjanaharibe-Sud Special Reserve (ASSR), a large mountainous rainforest in northeastern Madagascar, which has long been recognized as a lemur priority site. At least 11 lemur species are found here including:

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

How We Support Local Communities

Educational Outreach

We have the pleasure of continuing Dr. Alison Jolly’s legacy with the Ako Project, in collaboration with Dr. Hanta Rasamimanana, Dr. Jolly’s former colleague, professor at ENS, and Madagascar’s “Lemur Lady”.

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

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

The Ako Project, sponsored by EnviroKidz, is an educational children’s book series, translated in both English and Malagasy, which is intended to teach Malagasy children about different species of lemur in a fun, tangible way. The books come with matching curriculum to help teachers convey the conservation themes and concepts envisioned for the stories.

Training support

LCF also collaborates with École Normale Supérieure (ENS), the teachers’ training arm of the University of Antananarivo. This partnership supports the students of ENS in their field research and field work theses at the Berenty Reserve, a private wildlife reserve in southern Madagascar. Research done at Berenty includes lemur census surveys and plant phenology.

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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.
Conservation International 10675574_742758362445343_5124538466504412962_n

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

WWF The Panda logo

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?

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 (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 Lemur Conservation Foundation), 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?

WWF Verreuaxi Viktor Nikkiforov

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 Photo2_catégorie1_Ichiyama_ANTANANARIVOWWF 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 Team_Anadapa(Halleux)

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.

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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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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Wildlife Conservation Society

WCS saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature.

Supporting lemur conservation in Makira National Park

Wildlife Conservation Society 3The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature. In Madagascar, WCS undertakes conservation in and around the perimeter of the Marika National Park in northeast Madagascar, where they partner with local communities to ensure lasting conservation success.

What Lemur Species does WCS Protect?

All of WCS’s conservation actions aim to contribute to the protection of lemur species found in the park. Activities include a comprehensive field-based system of surveillance, law enforcement monitoring and ecological monitoring; restoration and maintenance of critical forestry corridors; research into habitats and species found in the zone; and strengthening of the Government’s ability to manage and enforce forest and marine resource use regulations. WCS and its partners strive to develop the landscape as a model for resource conservation and biodiversity protection through better land stewardship linked to improved livelihoods.

Wildlife Conservation Society 1More than 15 species of lemurs are known in the Makira Natural Park in Northeastern Madagascar. Seven of them are included in WCS’ Makira Project conservation targets:

  • Black-and-white ruffed lemur (Varecia variegata subcincta)
  • Red ruffed lemur (Varecia rubra)
  • Indri (Indri indri)
  • Red bellied lemur (Eulemur rubriventer)
  • White-fronted brown lemur (Eulemur albifrons)
  • Common brown Lemur (Eulemur fulvus)
  • Silky Sifaka (Propithecus candidus)

Ecological Monitoring of diurnal lemurs in Makira Natural Park

Ecological monitoring of lemurs is conducted annually at the Makira National Park in collaboration with the local communities. The aim is to detect any changes in the populations of these 7 species; data on lemur abundances, on habitat health, and threats facing biodiversity are collected and analyzed to show the possible variations in lemur populations and help target conservation programming. In parallel with this ecological monitoring, WCS Madagascar collaborates with international and national researchers to enrich bio-ecological information on lemurs through various methods including surveys and genetic analysis. Lastly, in collaboration with GERP Association, WCS helped discover a new species of mouse lemur in this region in 2009.

Participatory Conservation of Silky Sifaka (Propithecus candidus) in Makira Natural Park

Wildlife Conservation SocietySince 2005, in collaboration with international and national researchers, WCS has carried out extensive research on the Silky sifaka, a critically endangered lemur species in northeastern Madagascar. In addition, this program aims to:

  • Adopt a practical conservation action plan for the Silky Sifaka that is based upon participatory conservation measures;
  • Use baseline data on Silky Sifaka abundance, distribution and threats to identify priority conservation actions for inclusion in a conservation action plan;
  • Gain community and authority consensus on conservation action plan;
  • Develop and implement a synchronized ranger and community ecological monitoring network in Makira Natural Park;
  • Develop and implement a community ecological monitoring network.

This program will also have a community development component, which will involve education and awareness raising programs. In addition, WCS hopes to integrate Silky sifaka conservation in community ecotourism activities that generate economic benefits for the local community. For example, the organization has developed an eco-lodge and and partnerships with private tourism operators. The possibility of observing the Silky Sifaka is a key attraction of the site so it provides a tangible opportunity to generate economic benefits for the community resulting from the conservation of this species.

Partnering with Local Communities

Wildlife Conservation Society 2WCS works hard to ensure the sustainability of their programming, as there are clear links between improved livelihoods, improved land stewardships, and resource conservation. To achieve this, WCS engages with local communities to build their capacity as effective stewards of their natural resources and to ensure that they derive benefits from the natural resources though promotion of community-based ecotourism and nature based product enterprises, improved agriculture, reinforced governance, and market access.

Partnerships are established through the transfer of forest management to local communities. Communities are also involved in patrolling and ecological monitoring. In addition, WCS has trained dozens of local community teams to assist in their data collection programs, thereby increasing the capacity of communities to monitor local biodiversity and ecosystems.

WCS is developing a network of community based natural resources management sites in the form of a ‘green belt’ around the protected areas. WCS provides support to communities to improve sustainable management of natural resources through diversification of livelihood options and activities to improve human health and welfare. Finally, WCS is taking a leadership role to secure the area’s financial future, and has developed partnerships with the private sector in the sale of carbon credits from avoided deforestation, ecotourism, and wildlife friendly products.

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