With the recent approval of a further 20 lemur conservation projects, IUCN’s SOS is delighted to announce the SOS Lemurs initiative which started in late 2015 has now grown to 30 projects in total. All projects are informed by the Lemur Conservation Strategy published by the IUCN Species Survival Commission Primate Specialist Group in 2014.
In addition to helping communities and protecting habitat, this round of projects will help protect 26 lemur species, which are either Endangered or Critically Endangered as classified by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™. More than half of the approved implementing organisations will be new grantees for SOS. Additionally, many are civil society organisations founded and managed by Malagasy conservationists.
This second phase of funding of $US 2 million comes after a successful workshop in Antananarivo held in January 2017 which gathered many lemur conservation practitioners to explain the SOS model and improve levels of coordination among grant recipients. Following a subsequent call for proposals, a large volume of high quality applications were received. A Technical Advisory Group (TAG) constituted by some of the world’s foremost lemur and Madagascar experts selected the 20 successful applications from these submissions.
“Through the SOS Lemur initiative we aim to foster collaboration between conservation bodies and we are fortunate to be backed by the best experts. This is the first time that an entire IUCN Action Plan is funded and we need to make the most of this opportunity”, elaborated Jean-Christophe Vié, Director with SOS - Save Our Species.
As a result of this coordinated approach the future for lemur conservation looks a little brighter. Dr. Christoph Schwitzer, Director of Conservation Bristol Zoo stated “I am really pleased that we can now start implementing the IUCN Lemur Conservation Strategy in a joined-up and coordinated way. The Malagasy and international lemur conservation community has pulled together, and a number of great projects are soon under way in the highest priority sites for lemurs across Madagascar. We can make a real sustainable difference for lemur conservation over the coming five years”.
“Lemurs are the key to understanding Madagascar’s past. Preserving them is the key to Madagascar’s future. We cannot let them vanish from our forests” said Dr. Jonah Ratsimbazafy, Secretary General of the Groupe d'Etude et de Recherche sur les Primates de Madagascar (GERP) in welcoming the news.
SOS – Save Our Species is an initiative led by IUCN which contributes to the long-term survival of threatened species, their habitats and the people who depend on them by supporting civil society organisations. It is a global partnership involving a range of organisations including the World Bank, the Global Environment Facility, the European Commission, several foundations and businesses.
SOS Lemurs is a targeted initiative by SOS – Save Our Species, operating exclusively in Madagascar and supported by a private Geneva-based foundation.