The Bamboo Lemur Programme is located in a non-protected area close to Ranomafana National Park and is home to a population of about 400 greater bamboo lemurs, one of the most threatened lemurs in Madagascar. This population (the largest currently monitored and protected in the species’ range) is threatened by the destruction of its habitat, in particular the cutting of bamboo (used by local communities as a building material) which constitutes the main source of food for the species. Increase human disturbance on its territory (hunting for tenrecs and partridges, crops planting…) is also impacting greater bamboo lemurs and their survival (lemurs caught in snares, multiplication of conflicts due to crop-raiding).
The Bamboo Lemur Programme is implementing a sustainable management of natural resources and a sustainable development of local communities.
It aims to:
- better know the biology of greater bamboo lemurs to assess the animals’ needs thanks to a daily monitoring of the groups by eco-guards and regular studies;
- reduce habitat destruction and limit slash-and-burn practices by helping the villagers to improve their crop yields and to develop new sources of income;
- establish a long-term commitment towards nature and greater bamboo lemurs by supporting the education of the children and local communities.
Combining these components will help to reduce the pressure on the greater bamboo lemur habitat and thus allow the population to grow and thrive.
The programme is currently identifying the priority areas for greater bamboo lemur conservation and for community-based development. The resulting management plan will help implementing efficient protection measures for the conservation areas (rangers’ surveillance, reforestation, decrease in clearing…) and sustainable activities on community-based operational areas thanks to the improvement of crop yields and the creation of new sources of income (vegetable crops, fish production, ecotourism and handicrafts).
The sustainable use of natural resources by the villagers will preserve the greater bamboo lemurs and their habitat. As a consequence, the existing conflicts between lemurs and villagers will be minimized. The lemur population will continue to grow while the living standards of local communities will be improved.
The management of responsibility is also gradually transferred to local communities for capacity-building reinforcement and to involve them in all aspects of the conservation plan (environmental, economic, social).
Finally, improving the education of the children and the villagers will increase their knowledge of greater bamboo lemurs and help them to understand the relations between humans, animals and land use so that a balance can be found.