Mission: To increase the scientific knowledge of its flagship species, the blue-eyed black lemur, through studies into socioecology, reproductive behaviour, habitat use, activity patterns, parasitic status and nutritional ecology.
Species: Blue-eyed black lemur
Support started: 2004
Donating: €1,650 towards the running of the reserve and assist with their educational activities.
Background: The AEECL uses the expertise of its member zoo organisations to help contribute to the knowledge of endangered lemur species and has worked towards preventing the loss of further valuable habitat on the island of Madagascar. Towards the end of 2007, an MSc research project was also completed examining the population density and habitat preferences of the newly-described Sahamalaza sportive lemur. The Sahamalaza sportive lemur was first discovered in 2004, but no research other than genetic and morphological descriptions and a brief survey had been carried out on the species prior to this study. Basic information about their population size and habitat requirements was urgently required in order to suggest appropriate conservation action. An overall population of no more than 3,000 individuals is now estimated to remain and the habitat is continuously shrinking, which reinforces the conservation status of this species. Staff involved in this research project were also involved in the writing and translation of an educational booklet about Ankarafa Research Station intended for distribution at local schools.
Achievements: The AEECL is also continuing with its community-based natural resource management programme. This programme is helping local community members to improve their living conditions to enable them to sustainably manage their natural reserves.
The national reforestation campaign took place in December 2010. Forest restoration was proposed to start in the Sahamalaza Island Radama National park (SIRNP) by December, but due to the rainy season arriving late, and young seedlings not ready in time, it has been delayed until February 2011. Fires are a big problem at SIRNP with the two main causes being from slash and burn agriculture and the conversion of savannah for pasture. Therefore the establishment of a firebreak is required to prevent the progression of fire from reaching the forest. For this reason alone, this is now an annual activity for AEECL, with the help of people from local villages.
AEECL works hard to improve the techniques of rice growing and plant gardening. They also are working on cleaning the Matsaboribe plain drainage system in Maromandia. This system according to villagers has not worked in over 30 years, and has made a third of the land unusable due to flooding. So the project unblocked the channel and more land was obtained by farmers to cultivate.
Future objectives: The AEECL has many plans for the continuation and expansion of the programme for the next few years. During the years to come, a number of studies on the ecology and conservation of the blue-eyed black lemur and other species of the Sahamalaza region will be carried out. There are many other mammal, reptile and amphibian species living within the boundaries of the protected area “Sahamalaza - Iles Radama”, some of which are still undescribed by science. As yet, little is known about the ecology or behaviour of any of these species, thus necessitating a considerable amount of research in Sahamalaza in the coming years.
AEECL has a work plan and objectives each year include;
• Since 2009, environmental destruction and forest overexploitation increased; environmental education is an appropriate way to fight and control these issues. The project will continue to increase awareness on environmental protection and communicate with villagers to stimulate their involvement.
• Increase the number of subsidized teachers and their salaries and continue to evaluate them
• Continue to protect the forest against possible fires.
• Recruit 4 more park rangers to strengthen the current group.
• Access to drinking water in several places in Sahamalaza is very limited, so AEECL plans to get access to drinking water, and reduce the trouble caused by the use of unhealthy water.
• Continue with maintenance of the camp
Blue-eyed black male lemur picture © AEECL
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