June is National Zoo and Aquarium Month in the United States. To celebrate, here are some reasons why zoos are vital to lemur conservation, and will play an ever-increasing role in the story of lemur conservation going forward.
Tag Archives | conservation
If I were to ask you to picture the landscape of Madagascar in your head, what images first come to mind? Never-ending rainforests? A paradise unspoiled by man? These images may be the Madagascar that once was, and the Madagascar we are hoping to have in the future, but it is not the Madagascar of today. Today, Madagascar is a country on fire. It is estimated that as much as 90% of the country’s original vegetation has been destroyed, the […]
About the Laboratory for the Evolutionary Endocrinology of Primates (LEEP)
Our program generally focuses on primate research and conservation, with a focus on lemurs. We are concerned with how lemurs negotiate survival and reproduction in dynamic environments. The majority of our research is conducted with red-bellied lemurs (Eulemur rubriventer), but we are also involved in research with other species, such as the brown mouse lemur (Microcebus rufus), Milne-Edwards sifaka (Propithecus edwardsi), and Diademed sifaka (Propithecus diadema).
Most work is conducted in Ranomafana National Park in southeastern Madagascar, but we also do work at Kianjavato and Tsinjoarivo with our collaborators.
Engaging with the local community
We engage directly with community members in several ways. We hire local experts to help us conduct our research. We train students and locals without formal education in scientific principles and date collection.
We collaborate with researchers and Centre ValBio staff on grant proposals and research. And we communicate our research at all stages through disseminating publications, giving presentations to officials, tourism guides, faculty, and students, and co-mentoring students.
The Lemur Conservation Biology working group at the University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover’s Institute of Zoology researches adaptation and evolution of lemurs, focusing on nocturnal lemurs.
About the Lemur Conservation Biology working group
A major aim of the Lemur Conservation Biology working group of the Institute of Zoology (TiHo Hannover) is to increase understanding of the processes and mechanisms of adaptation and evolution of lemur.
Their work focuses on nocturnal lemurs, which are generally less studied than diurnal lemurs. In particular, they study the patterns, mechanisms, and consequences of intra- and inter-species variation in lemur behavior, bioacoustics, ecology, physiology and susceptibility for diseases. By combining this knowledge with an understanding of how habitat needs and habitat fragmentation impact the genetic diversity of populations, they can start to evaluate the viability and long-term survival of lemur populations. Two of their research programs are listed below.
More information about the working group’s larger conservation programming and how they engage with local communities can be found on their NGO profile page.
Conservation Biology and Environmental Flexibility of Lemurs in the Ankarafantsika National Park and the Mariarano forest (Project code: LemCon2)
This program, which has been ongoing since 2003, takes place in the Ankarafantsika National Park and the Mariarano forest. This mosaic of habitat types offers many different ecological niches for lemurs and other forest dwelling organisms; knowledge of how lemurs survive in these different niches is still in its infancy, but urgently needed for conservation management.
The aim of this project is to investigate the biology of these species in these habitat types, including their vulnerability towards diseases. This knowledge will help to understand the environmental flexibility of species, how events such as climate change affect lemurs’ life history and long-term survival, and provide data for the long-term conservation management of lemurs in northwestern Madagascar.
Phylogeography and conservation genetics of nocturnal lemurs (Project code: LemCon4)
Since 2000, this project aims to understand the population structure of different lemur species across their habitat ranges in view of how drastically anthropogenic disturbances have impacted forests. Effective conservation requires detailed knowledge on how many individuals remain in the wild, the distribution of species, threats to their survival, and the degree to which individuals within a species differ (e.g., genetically). Ancient and recent processes of genetic differentiation shall be identified in order to develop effective conservation measures.
This research will help increase understanding of evolutionarily significant units and the management units in order to formulate long-term management plans.
About the Mention Anthropobiologique et développement durable
The Mention Anthropobiologie et Développement Durable (ADD) houses the unique, primatology laboratory at the University of Madagascar which contains both lemuroid subfossils and holotypes of living lemurs.
ADD’s main objectives are to:
- provide training programs about primates,
- undertake research endeavors, and
- promote conservation efforts.
The academics and technicians associated with this program partner with institutions at the national and international level including with non-profits, community associations, and government entities.
ADD is key to improving the abilities of Malagasy university students and helping them become leaders in the field of conservation. This is important as conservation does not just stop with protecting lemurs, but needs to encompass education, awareness raising, and helping local communities take ownership of — and actively engage with — conservation programming.
As a result of ADD, students and alumni now work in many different agencies and institutions within the country. Looking forward, ADD aims to continue working towards programming that supports and promotes the work of researchers and conservationists in Madagascar in a sustainable way.