The Andriantantely lowland rainforest is one of the only known areas where four of the most unique and Critically Endangered large rainforest lemurs can be observed living together: the Greater Bamboo Lemur (Prolemur simus), the Black And White Ruffed Lemur (Varecia variegata), the Indri (Indri indri) and the Diademed Sifaka (Propithecus diadema). All four species are threatened with extinction primarily due to the combined effects of habitat destruction and hunting.
The project will focus on mitigating these two primary threats in and around Andriantantely. This will ensure the effective conservation of close to half the total known population of the Greater Bamboo Lemur, and significant wild populations of Black And White Ruffed Lemur, Indri, and Diademed Sifaka.
Hunting pressure will be mitigated by hiring members of local community associations to patrol the project sites for three days per week, removing lemur traps. Research to date has found that local people in this area are mostly happy to stop lemur hunting. Few traps have been encountered and so far, the project team has eliminated lemur hunting from a large proportion of the project area. This work will continue thanks to the project funding.
So far, habitat destruction has been more difficult to mitigate. The primary strategy is to support the creation and implementation of legal transfers of management responsibility for defined areas to local community associations (VOIs using the Malagasy acronym). These areas are zoned to include specific areas for conservation, agriculture, habitation, reforestation, sustainable resource use, and any other appropriate zones. The process is very participatory and once a management transfer agreement is signed it is then possible to apply the terms of the agreement, including preventing or reacting to habitat destruction through locally appropriate measures.
The project will also facilitate community-based reforestation programmes, using plant species grown from seeds collected from lemur faeces by local community members. Awareness-raising and environmental education activities will be carried out to underpin the long-term impacts on the project. Malagasy conservationists will be funded to implement the project activities.
The overall objective is that populations of four Critically Endangered lemur species are stabilised or increased in and around the Andriantantely lowland rainforest, with local communities ensuring lemur habitat is protected and stabilized or increased. Specifically results include:
- Maintenance of populations of at least 500 Greater Bamboo Lemurs, 1,000 Indris, 350 Black And White Ruffed Lemurs, and 100 Diademed Sifakas, in and around the Andriantantely lowland rainforest
- Enhanced habitat suitability and sustainability by December 2018
- Community-based conservation of forests and lemurs implemented for the entire Andriantantely forest and the greater bamboo lemur sites surrounding it by December 2018.