Conservation International and IUCN Save Our Species Stand Together for Lemurs in Madagascar

The diademed sifaka (Propiethecus diadema) found only in the rainforest of Madagascar, enjoys sunbathing and can leap 30 feet in one bound. Photo:©Cristina Mittermeier

Madagascar’s lemurs are famous around the world, but nearly a third of all lemur species are listed in the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List as Critically Endangered, due to deforestation that’s robbing them of their habitat.

In June 2020, Conservation International-Madagascar received funding from IUCN’s Save Our Species grant program to protect three of the world’s most vulnerable lemur species: Indri indri, Diademed Sifaka, and the Black-and-White Ruffed Lemur.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, community organizations in Madagascar have rallied around this work. Working with grassroots organizations in eight communities, Conservation International-Madagascar trained 24 new patrollers in the Ankeniheny-Zahamena forest corridor in November 2020.

The patrollers learned how to create patrol maps using GPS and SMART software, in addition to conducting periodic census of lemur life, quantifying threats, and reporting their observations. These patrollers, in turn, trained the rest of the members of their community organizations, which represent a total of 323 members. The trainings were conducted in full compliance with COVID-19 protocols to minimize risks of disease transmission.

Conservation International-Madagascar has worked closely with the local environmental authorities as well, to ensure that conservation laws are enforced in the instance of illegal slash-and-burn agriculture or deforestation of critical lemur habitats. Later in the project, we also look forward to working with teachers and youth to build a shared understanding of lemurs’ role in Malagasy heritage and health of forest ecosystems. By rallying support at both the grassroots level and with the authorities, this project will support the conservation of lemur habitat while providing the data that Malagasy scientists need to further study these important species.

This project is funded by IUCN Save Our Species. The contents of this article are the sole responsibility of Conservation International and do not necessarily reflect the views of IUCN.