Illegal ownership of lemurs as pets in Madagascar has emerged as a distinct threat. Estimates suggest that between 2010 and 2013 there were 28,000 lemurs in the pet trade in Madagascar, and that more that ¼ of these were Ring-tailed Lemurs (Lemur catta). These, along with the rapid rates of habitat destruction occurring in the spiny forests of Madagascar’s southwest, make the very survival of wild Ring-tailed Lemurs perilous.
The Lemurs of the Tsimanampesotse and Amoron'iOnilahy Protected Areas are also threatened by the highest deforestation rates in Madagascar (relative to other ecosystem types) and habitat destruction, as well as drought and/or increasing temperatures.
This project is designed to stop the practice of wild-capture of the Endangered Ring-tailed Lemur by:
- Encouraging active community participation and strengthening local capacities to become stewards of their resource biodiversity, which they could conserve for their own benefit;
- Raising awareness about the illegal nature of pet lemur ownership and awake appreciation of wildlife value with locals;
- Educating law enforcement officers on wildlife regulations and strengthening their participation with civil society in combatting pet lemur practice.
The project will also focus on monitoring the Ring-tailed Lemur and the forest.
The project aims to:
- Improve the site protection of the Ring-tailed Lemur population within Tsimanampesotse and Amoron'IOnilahy Protected Areas;
- Increase awareness within the local community, managers, authorities, lemur keepers, hotel operators and tourists on wildlife laws and on the importance to keep lemurs wild;
- Strengthen community and civil society participation in combatting lemur poaching.