Conservation Update from Madagascar

Natural World Safaris

15 Aug 2013

positive news

We were delighted to receive a positive update from Madagascar biodiversity and conservation pioneer, Dr. Ed Louis, who runs the Kianjavato Lemur Project we support, following recent events focused on the continued protection of the critically endangered lemurs.  Dr. Louis has just returned to the office from the "field" and the International Prosimian Congress (IPC) which was held in Ranomafana in Madagascar on 5-9 August. The event focuses on the global conservation status of the world’s mammals, which shows that primates are one of the most threatened by extinction. 

The topic for 2013 was “How science and policy can pull prosimians back from the brink of extinction?”

Prosimians – a type of primate that excludes monkeys and apes - are widely distributed throughout the remaining tropical and subtropical forests of Asia and Africa, including Madagascar, where hunting, habitat degradation, climate change and the pet trade are reported to be common threats. The lemurs of Madagascar, the galagos (or bushbabies) of Africa, the loris of Africa and south-east Asia, and the tarsier of south-east Asia are among the most endangered mammals on Earth. The lemurs are particularly interesting, since they represent the most extensive diversification of all living primates, and yet they are also the least understood. 

Sadly, 94% of lemur species are considered in danger of extinction, which makes Madagascar a particularly relevant setting for this year’s Congress. 

The good news is that since 1998, when Dr Louis began working in Madagascar, he and his team have discovered 21 new species of lemur. They have worked extremely hard to protect and where possible, re-establish, the biodiversity for which the island is known. Through educational and reforestation programmes, they have nurtured close relationships and engineered many successful initiatives with both local communities and national organisations.

The IPC Congress came just one week after the launch of a new strategy for lemur conservation produced by the IUCN/SSC Primate Specialist Group (International Union for Conservation of Nature (Species Survival Commission) - a network of scientists and conservationists who stand against the tide of extinction by promoting research on the ecology and conservation of hundreds of primate species. The three-year action plan aims to coordinate conservation and fundraising efforts to reverse the decline of the most threatened primates in the world.

The strategy effectively contains 30 action plans for 30 different priority sites for lemur conservation and we are thrilled to report that the Kianjavato Lemur Project, is indeed, is one of these sites. The action plans will form the basis of fundraising to maintain support for the vital work they do and is, we feel, a reflection of the determination and commitment of Dr Louis and all at the Madagascar Biodiversity Partnership, to help safeguard the wonderful flora and fauna in this unique part of the world.

In further credit to his ongoing dedication and work in the field, Dr Louis was one of three people presented with the "Distinguished Professor Award" by the Executive Committee of the IPC, in recognition of successful training of Malagasy Students, which he described as both “a surprise and honour”.

Natural World Safaris are very proud to work with the Lemur Project in Kianjavato and to be the only tour operator to take clients behind the scenes of this wonderful organisation – for us, this is experiential and responsible natural world travel at its best.

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