Threats to survival including habitat loss and degradation along with an increase in the hunting of Indri and Diademed Sifaka have each been observed in the recently created protected area Mangabe-Ranomena-Sahasarotra (Mangabe).
Despite the fact that most people report the fady (taboo) for the lemurs, especially indris, people hunt and eat lemurs as they form a free source of protein. These threats are intensifying as the human population size increases.
On the other hand, these two species are among the key attractions of Madagascar’s unique biodiversity and valuable ecotourism industry.
The project team will form youth groups composed of five to eight members, train them in improved farming techniques (rice cultivation and chicken breeding) and tree planting. A competition will be launched amongst the youth groups in these three areas. Simultaneously, the team will inform participants on the key facts about the lemurs of Madagascar, especially the project target species.
Participants will be encouraged to raise awareness in their villages and engage them in conservation initiatives while stopping destructive activities. A lemur survey team will collect data on lemur population estimates, habitat trend and evidence of hunting around the villages where the youth groups are based. These will be taken into account when ranking the groups for the competition.
Finally, each group will be invited to produce songs, poems or other traditional ways that raise awareness for lemur conservation. These will also be taken into account in the ranking. The project team are aiming to work with 50 youth groups dispersed among the ten villages around Mangabe protected area. Among these, the top ten will be rewarded with participation at the Alaotra-Mangoro fair that happens in Ambatondrazaka district annually, and the top five will participate at the 2017 Lemur Festival in Antananarivo.
Throughout the project period, the project team will work closely with the media, especially the radio in Moramanga district. This is an opportunity for the youths to talk about their initiatives to a wide range of audience, hence increasing their pride for it. The more pride they have in the initiatives, the more likely they are to continue implementing them in the future.
This project will also allow the wider audience to know about Mangabe protected area. The approach adopted in this project could be replicated and improved in Mangabe and other areas in the future.