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World Lemur Festival 2018 : Recap

The World Lemur Festival is a series of activities happening throughout the globe in October-November with the aim to raise awareness for lemur conservation, to celebrate these unique animals and Madagascar, and to show people the importance of protecting lemurs and their habitats.

 

2018 was the fifth year this festival was celebrated. Lemur supporters threw festival events in Madagascar, US, Europe and  Japan.

Events were held and sponsored by many LCN members, including GERP, Madagascar Biodiversity Partnership, Conservation Fusion, Madagascar Fauna and Flora Group, Lemur Love, Lemur Conservation Foundation, Duke Lemur Center, Oxford Brookes University, many zoos worldwide and more.

Let’s take a look to some of this year’s World Lemur Festival events in Madagascar and around the world!

Events in Madagascar

Antananarivo : ENS Ampefiloha

The 5th edition of the World Lemur Festival, organized by GERP, was celebrated at Antananarivo on October 5th of 2018. Many festivities were done. First, the carnival was held through the town where  many schools, universities, organizations and private companies participated. 

Then, an official opening was made at ANS Ampefiloha with many artistic activities done and stand expositions. In the afternoon, there was a conference followed by a debate with a theme entitled “Lemurs are national heritage but do they, but can they still be protected?”.

Here is the interview made by LCN Madagascar Coordinator, Dr. Corduant, with the coordinator of the World Lemur Festival, 5th edition, Mr Heritiana Dieu Donné RANDRIANATOANDRO.

Read more about the event here.

Andasibe

The Indri Festival was celebrated by GERP on September, 28th to 30 th in Andasibe. More than 150 people participated.  The Festival began with a large parade with many groups within local communities (guides, forest keepers, women’s clubs, nurseries and more) dressed in lemur themes. There were many activities such as cultural dance, stands exhibition and conference.

Tamatave

Each year, Madagascar Fauna and Flora group celebrated the World Lemur Festival. For this 5th edition, the event was co-organized with the Varecia club in partnership with the Alliance Française de Toamasina, ISSEDD and the LEO CLUB of Toamasina. The event was sponsored by the Ministry of the Environment, Ecology and Forests.

The main objectives of the festival remain the same as for each year:

  • To reduce the pressure and threat to lemur species,
  • To become aware of and aware of the value of lemurs,
  • To actively involve conservation stakeholders,
  • To raise awareness among schoolchildren and students,
  • To raise awareness among the general public.

For this 5th edition, we organized a two-stage event, for the general public of Toamasina, an event was organized on the esplanade of Independence Avenue on November, 10th and 11th, and another event at the Ivoloina Zoological Park on November, 17th.

The demonstration for the general public on Independence Avenue Square was attended by approximately 800 people on the first day and more than 1400 on the second. By the way, we have set up an exhibition stand highlighting the lemur species from Madagascar and especially the lemur species that people can find in Ivoloina. Above all, we have highlighted the importance of lemurs, the threats they face and the contribution that everyone can make to their preservation and protection. Various activities and games were associated to this event.

Open House at Park Ivoloina

For the highlight of this 5th edition, an open house was organized at the Ivoloina Zoological Park. A day that began with a 12km walk to the park for the lemurs. This march was attended by more than 175 people including Scouts, French primary schools, youth associations, the Vintsy Club, academics, parents, mpihira Vakodrazana, etc.

Local authorities were also invited to participate in the event and especially for the official celebration. The participation of the Leo Club of Toamasina has marked this day which had launched a day dedicated to diabetes screening in Ivoloina itself. Around 1500 people were participated and, as always, there were various animations, games and small contests with various prizes to win.

Lake Alaotra

The 5th edition of Bandro Festival, organized by Madagascar Wildlife Conservation (MWC)  held on November, 21th and 22th. Around 500 people participated on the Bandro festival this year. The first day, the festival began with a visit of Parc Bandro in Andreba Gara and then, there was a swamp planting and laying the signs in the Parc. In the afternoon, there were sport competition and they played films on conservation and lemurs.

For the second day, there was a large parade and many activities occurred including a dance competition and lemur art contests. MWC had many public and private partners that helped on the organization on this festival, like DREEF Alaotra Mangoro, Alaotra Mangoro Region, Durell, Ambatondrazaka prefecture, Durell, Alaotra Ranosoa and GERP.  Their sponsor were Margot Marsh Biodiversity Foundation and “Coopération décentralisée, Département Ille Vilaine”.

Kianjavato, Ambolotara

Conservation Fusion in partnership with Madagascar Biodiversity Partnership, the local communities of Kianjavato and the VOI (Vondron`Olona Ifotony- local communities associations), the school partners in Kianjavato and the 25 students in visit to Kianjavato from the University of Antananarivo collaborated together to celebrate the World Lemur Day in Madagascar on Friday 26th and  Saturday 27th October 2018. For this year celebration, they focused in community members with more than 1100 local communities reached at large for more impacts and outreaches including community leaders, future VOI president, teacher, Single mom, Woman association Around.

Three activities are done:

Tree planting:

Led by Madagascar Biodiversity Partnership during which Conservation Fusion joined them to plant 18,200 trees.

Conservation Camp:

On Friday 26th 2018, we had a Conservation Camp with 22 students and 2 teachers from Ambodibonary Primary school assisted by 4 guides from Madagascar Biodiversity Partnership.

Conservation Camp is an integral part of our educational programs that have led from few years and after that the leadership and management of the program was transferred to local leaders working with Conservation Fusion and Conservation Camp is a permanent and an ongoing program we have in Kianjavato.

But they have organized a special Conservation Camp for WLD and the concept is the same connecting kids with nature and lemurs during which they are guided and can interact with local guides having forest and lemur experiences. Moreover, it is an interactive learning process forging their knowledge and skills about their surrounding environments and importantly they have the opportunities to see lemurs in their wild habitat and to learn more about how lemurs live. As a special Conservation Camp for WLD, their theme was Lemurs. They had their educational tool books on lemurs.

The little greater bamboo lemurs, Tsiory and the Varijatsy, that were designed based on the realities of Kianjavato and are used within school partners as an educational tool to educate on lemurs, how lemurs-people-environment are connected and learning how key roles lemurs are playing into our eco-system.

After the forest tour and visit, they had an exchange discussion among Conservation Camp participants and with them and the lemur guides, the guides explained their work in the forest on lemurs (diet-monitoring-daily life of lemurs…) and participants expanded their knowledge on the benefits of lemurs and forest in their daily lives.

Furthermore, participants have the opportunity to share their favorite moments like almost of the children mention that their favorite part was seeing the lemurs but also they like touring the forest and enjoying the nature with friends and to ask questions to guides and to learn a lot of many things.

Besides, they could disguised themselves with lemurs masks designed by volunteers from America

Festival

The WLD parade was led by community leaders from different areas of Kianjavato coming to attend the main event in Ambolotara. It went through the whole village both to sensitize about the event and also to call other people to join the gathering after the parade.

Songs were used to sensitize focusing on key messages we protect the lemurs, it’s our future. Let’s get together to protect lemurs, today we do celebrate lemurs”.

There were 144 kids from school partners during the Festival. For this year, because of the collaboration with the school partners that each has their school mascot symbolizing each school from the endemic animal species of Madagascar and they could present their respective school mascots.

Community mobilization and community WLD and Trivia game

After the WLD parade, the community gathering was held at Ambolotara school during which the activity was officially opened by the traditional leader Ampanjaka from Ambolotara thanking Conservation Fusion and MBP for choosing Ambolotara for the celebration of the World lemur day, and he reminded his people about not doing slash burn anymore as they can now see the tangible benefit they got from protecting the lemurs`habitat.

As 25 students from the University of Antananarivo joined us in this WLD celebration they prepared a welcoming dance and assisted CF and MBP team in preparing the WLD.

The festival itself was a huge opportunity for Conservation Fusion team to sensitize and educate the local community members, as so far Ambolotara is still the one having a high numbers in practicing Tavy. During our organizational meeting, Marc from Ambolotara, the nursery worker at Vatovavy inquired us to speak more about the danger of Tavy and remind people about the consequences of it and its effect on the lemurs and on people’s daily life .

SAVA region, Andapa

The World Lemur Festival was held in Andapa on October 31, 2018.  More than 300 people participated this year and it was again a big success.  The Festival began with a large parade with many groups (students, environment and women’s clubs, and more) dressed in lemur themes.

The Lemur Conservation Foundation (LCF), Duke Lemur Center-SAVA Conservation, World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and others assisted with the organization and celebrated the day with school students in the town of Andapa in northeast Madagascar. In city hall, many activities occurred including a dance competition, lemur art contests, poetry/story contests, question and answer sessions about lemurs and finally we played the BBC Film in Malagasy (“Nosy Mahagaga”).

There were refreshments and prizes like notebooks and pencils for the children.  This year LCF incorporated several proactive conservation activities such as distributing ADES fuel-efficient stoves, which are in high demand.

The primary sponsors were LCF, Madagascar National Parks and the World Wildlife Fund along with a number of other local organizations.

Sainte Luce

The Friday of World Lemur Day in Sainte Luce with SEED Madagascar was disrupted by some heavy rains. However, they launched Project Ala a couple of days later!
Project Ala is a long term reforestation project that aims to reconnect fragments of degraded forest. This will allow 3 local, nocturnal species of lemur to move between the fragments and will dramatically increase the size of viable habitats for the remaining lemurs.
At the beginning of November they began planting acacia seedlings!
You can find out how Project Ala is going to help safeguard the future of our local lemurs on the SEED website.

Events in the United States

Sacramento

Lemur Love, Inc. hosted their first (in person) World Lemur Day events, as well as their traditional online events and contests that they have held the last three years.

YOLO Brewing Company in Sacramento, CA was their first World Lemur Day event to kick off the festivities, they hung out, drank some “Lemur Alone” Milkshake IPA beer, and participated in some Lemur Jeopardy!  They were joined by local zookeepers that work with the lemurs at the Sacramento Zoo!

San Diego, North Park Beer Company

Lemur Love’s World Lemur Day second event was held at their home base in San Diego, CA at North Park Beer Company, where they were joined by a lot of local zookeepers and lemur enthusiasts alike!  They had a fantastic turnout, and everyone had a great time – even the brewery’s staff!

Our traditional online events were fruitful, as always.  People (and kiddos!) send in their beautiful photos of lemurs, as well as photos of their lemur-inspired artworks, and we share them with everyone.  Our lemur trivia was also really popular this year, and we got a lot of interaction from it. 

Sarasota

On October 13, 2018, Lemur Conservation Foundation held their 1st World Lemur Festival in celebration with international events held around the world in honor of World Lemur Day.

Their partner, Ringling College of Art and Design, hosted the free, family-friendly festival at the Alfred R. Goldstein Library. Guests enjoyed many conservation education activities and a talk by Drs. Alison Grand and Erik Patel, The Art & Science of Saving Lemurs. A highlight was a juried art exhibition to illustrate the challenges faced by lemurs. Over 20 submissions were received by faculty and students.

San Francisco, The Riptide

A silent auction was done on October 26, 2018 in the Riptide. All proceeds went to AEECL for their community-based conservation efforts to help protect the critically endangered Blue eyed black lemur.

Chester Zoo

The World Lemur Day was celebrated at Chester Zoo. There was a Lemur talk at Lemur island about Ring-tailed Lemurs. In the afternoon, the visitors dropped-in to discover Lemurs and learn what are the need skills to be a field conservationist in Madagascar.

Trevor Zoo

At the Trevor Zoo, they have Lemurs since 1985. The World Lemur Day held on October 27th and October 28th. They had many events and activities to raise awareness and educate their visitors about the issues facing lemurs and all the wildlife in Madagascar. There was Lemur Keeper Talk about lemurs they have : Black & White Ruffed and Ring-Tailed Lemurs.

They had also a Children’s Book reading in their education center, lemur films playing in their classroom theater and Lemur Activity Booklets. Half of all their Mill Gift Shop sales and admission proceeds are donated to protect Lemurs and their fragile habitat in Madagascar.

Kros Strain Brewing Company

The World Lemur Day was celebrated at the Kros Strain Brewing Company. They celebrated with Fun lemur facts, swag, a new World Lemur Day t-shirt design from the incredible Colors for Conservation. All proceeds from this event gone directly to support Lemur conservation efforts of Conservation Fusion.

Tennessee Aquarium

They were celebrating some of Madagascar’s coolest creatures for World Lemur Day. At various locations in the Tropical Cove gallery, visitors met animal experts for some up-close-and-personal encounters with these engaging Malagasy ambassadors.

They took also snap pics in a special photo booth, snag a hug with a roaming lemur mascot and craft special lemur masks. At the gift shop, some visitors purchased special paintings made by the lemurs themselves. A portion of the sale of these goods will benefit the Aquarium’s ongoing partnership with the international Madagascar Fauna and Flora Group.

Central Florida Zoo & Botanical gardens

At the Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens, the World Lemur Day held on Saturday, November, 3 with their three species of lemur and their counterparts in Madagascar with the theme: We’re Loco for Lemurs! There were games, activities, conservation messages and more.

Staten Island zoo

The World Lemur Day was celebrated on Sunday, October 28 at the Staten Island zoo. There were keeper Talks.

The visitors watched lemur training sessions and made Keepsake crafts and enrichment for their lemur troops, and explored a Conservation Table.

Wildlife In Need, Inc, Charleston

They were having a World Lemur Day Trick and Treat celebration with mini meet and greets with the Ring Tail Lemurs, Trick or Treating, Games, Face Painting, Lemur enrichment craft, Drawings for prizes, Information booth.

West New York School

Students and teachers has also celebrated the World Lemur Day. Ms. Christine Zelenka, a Biology Teacher, organized many fun activities with her students.

My students and I had a wonderful World Lemur Day turnout. Students prepared crafts and presentations for the Science classes in my High School!

Events in Europe

Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm

During the World Lemur Day, Primate Keepers had celebrating the Day by running VIP Primate tours. There were fun games and special Meerkat enrichment.

Oxford Brookes University

Lemur researchers at Oxford Brookes University held an informal event to raise awareness about lemur conservation and highlight the research they are doing in southern Madagascar.  They displayed posters and chatted with people about the lemurs and people they work with in Tsitongambarika Protected Area, Anosy Region. The Malagasy crafts, gorgeous lemur photographs and home baked cakes they had for sale proved popular, especially the delicious godro-godro inspired by Marianah, the cook at Ampasy field station.

People were fascinated by the number and variety of lemur species and keen to learn about what life is like in Madagascar for lemurs and people. Through the generous support of students, staff, and members of the public they raised some much-needed funds to help buy equipment for their Malagasy field staff and their village schools.

Events in Asia

Japan, Japan Monkey Centre

The Japan Monkey Centre celebrated the World Lemur Day during the all October. The Events were including lemurs’ October Fest on October 6th & 7th, the Lemur BINGO on October 27th. There was Lemur Dance Festival on October, 28th.

The All Stripes Come and Gather were an occasion to gathered up with black and white stripe clothes on and take group photos.

Researchers from Kyoto University Primate Research Institute given talks about Lemurs. On October 6th & October 13th, there was Snacks for Lemurs where visitors made beautiful and delicious festival feast for lemurs and watched them enjoying. Finally, there was Entertain Lemurs event where visitors made hammocks and toys for lemurs with special keeper’s guide tour of lemurs and Madagascar at JMC Madagascar area. On October 3rd to November 5th, there was Lemurs Photo Exhibition where were displayed photographs of lemurs taken by visitors and staff.

Tokiwa Park

On October 07th to November, 04th, Tokiwa Park organized many lemur events such as lemur quiz and guides for their visitors. By the event of “Let’s make Lemur flag together!”, 140 messages and illustrations to lemurs gathered.

There were also other themes for example ”We must be gentle more for Lemur”, ”Let’s save Lemur!”, ”I’m rooting for Lemur!”. Lemur keepers also performed the World Lemurs Day special guide.