The Indri (Indri indri) and Diademed Sifaka (Propithecus diadema) are among the largest lemurs of Madagascar. Both are listed Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List (Version 3.1) due to predicted population decline by 80% in the next 36-45 years caused by habitat loss and degradation and increasing hunting pressures. If Madagascar loses its lemurs, the country is likely to lose a major proportion of its income from ecotourism, while missing key ecosystem services provided by lemurs. It is therefore urgent to save the lemurs from extinction.
We are working to save the lemurs in Mangabe-Ranomena-Sahasarotra Reserve, in Moramanga District, Alaotra-Mangoro Region, eastern Madagascar. The key threats observed there are habitat loss and degradation from tavy, logging and small-scale mining, and hunting. Increase or decrease of these threats depends on people’s decisions for their livelihoods, especially those living close to the forest where lemurs survive. In this project, we particularly target youths who often did not pursue school education and are doomed to become farmers. Our challenge is to ensure they become lemur conservation ambassadors i.e. their agricultural practices will enhance lemur habitats and they will not hunt lemurs. In the future, we expect them to educate their children to adopt lemur-friendly farming techniques.