Generally, the main threat to lemurs is the destruction of their habitat. This is also one of the most important threats that lemurs are facing in the two protected area sites concerning this project. Other threats include bushfires, wildfires, and the uncontrolled and illegal exploitation of timber. This is especially the case on the periphery of the forests of the two protected areas sites of the project. Further, poaching using traps is a problem due to local peoples’ dependence on available natural resources for their livelihoods and nutritional needs.
The project involves strengthening protection activities such as community patrol, in-depth studies and monitoring of three Endangered lemur species: Aye-aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis), Pale Fork-marked Lemur (Phaner pallescens) and Van der Decken’s Sifaka (Propithecus deckenii). Awareness and environmental education will continue following the expansion and revitalization of environmental clubs already created around the protected areas. Local community-based associations will focus on protecting and restoring degraded areas and forest bridges. The project is developing alternative socio-economic activities to alleviate the dependency of the population on the forest.
To date local forest committees have conducted 136 patrols. Data shows there is a clear reduction in offenses in the protected area. Also, thanks to the monthly count and periodic monitoring, the project team found the size of the diurnal lemur populations had stabilized. However, trapping at the periphery of protected areas still persists, hence the intensification of patrols is required.
Six environmental clubs have been created in 2016 and 2017. Each club has celebrated the annual festival of Lemurs at the village level. With the local associations, they planted 32,830 trees in 2017. For the reforestation campaign of February 2018, they aim to plant 100,000 trees.
By the end of this project the team estimates that:
- Some 70% of the households consulted and trained are aware of and understand the interest of lemurs targeted;
- Lemur conservation in protected areas by the project;
- Dependence on natural resources is reduced to 50% for 200 households;
- The pressures causing the quantitative and qualitative loss of habitat are reduced by 50% by the end of the project;
- The state of knowledge of 3 species of lemurs is improved, as well as scientific research papers on lemur conservation species are published internationally.