HELPSIMUS – Founded in November 2009

Based close to the National Park of Ranomafana in Madagascar

Support Started

Greater Bamboo Lemur

To protect the Greater Bamboo Lemur (Prolemur Simus) in Madagascar through the Bamboo Lemur Programme, which combines scientific monitoring of the species, protecting its habitat, supporting the development of the nearby villages and financing the education of local children. The Greater Bamboo lemur is one of the most threatened lemurs of Madagascar. Spread widely all over the island in the past, it is now only found in the humid forests of the east where slightly more than a thousand individuals have been recorded.

Donating £1,035

Helpsimus is based close to the National Park of Ranomafana but in an unprotected zone, located at the heart of the agricultural land of several villages inhabited by the largest wild population of greater bamboo lemurs (almost 600 specimens). “The aim of the Bamboo Lemur Programme is to find a balance between the needs of humans and those of the lemurs, so the local communities and wild fauna can cohabit in harmony.”

To achieve this aim, Helpsimus have developed a strategy consisting of:

1. Protecting the lemurs’ habitat.

2. Giving the local communities sufficient resources to protect the lemurs’ habitat. This consists of improving the standard of living of the local population by supporting the security of the products from their harvests and increasing yield and by developing new Revenue Generating Activities.

3. Supporting the children’s education. The greater bamboo lemurs’ habitat, comprising mostly of bamboo forests on which they feed almost exclusively, is badly damaged by “tavy” (slash-and-burn cultivating). Hence Helpsimus are implementing a certain number of conservation activities to ensure the long-term survival of this species. These are based around 3 main components:

– Environmental component: identify the priority conservation areas on the programme site, improving knowledge about the eco-ethology of the species and working on resolving human/lemur conflicts.

– Socio-Economic component: improving the standard of living of the local populations by helping to secure the products of their harvest and improving yields, developing new Revenue Generating Activities, building infrastructure and means of communication, and implementing better hygiene practices to improve the health of the communities.

– Educational component – improving awareness among local communities, and facilitate access to education for the children from villages involved in the project.
2021 was focused especially on the education of children with the construction of 2 new school buildings and the opening of 3 new canteens. Today over 660 children and their teachers benefit from the school canteens in the programme’s 5 schools!

Helpsimus now follows 23 groups of lemurs: 14 groups of greater bamboo lemurs, 4 groups of red-bellied lemurs, 2 groups of Ranomafana bamboo lemurs and 3 groups of Peyrieras’ woolly lemurs. Almost 640 lemurs are in this way protected directly by Helpsimus.
The scientific programme has almost returned to its normal pre-covid level with the hosting of 4 Malagasy students, two of whom worked with an English student performing remote analysis of videos recorded by camera traps.

The development plan of the Miaradia VOI (the first village association which manages the natural resources to be created) was updated: its action zone has doubled in size and more than an additional 200ha of forest fragments have been integrated into the conservation and restoration areas. The assessment of the first three years of management of the Samivar VOI (the second to be created) shows a significant reduction in all the different threats to the greater bamboo lemurs. The contract with these 2 VOIs has been renewed for an additional 3 years. Guarding of the paddy fields has been extended to the Samivar and Manirosa VOI with good results since none of the supervised paddy fields was attacked by the lemurs.

In 2021 ,Helpsimus planted over 15,000 forest species plants and the 3 nurseries have produced over 22,000 plants for the 2022 forest restoration/reforesting campaign. The fish farming programme and the programme for developing vegetable crops have seen a spectacular expansion: the number of participants in the fish farming programme has been multiplied by 5; the number of members of the development programme for vegetable crops has exceeded 800 individuals. However, many difficulties persist, especially relating to the low yield from the paddy fields due to their drying and the increase in the cost of raw materials and transport.
The long term conservation of the Greater Bamboo Lemur and its habitat rests on two major challenges on which we need to continue to concentrate our efforts in 2022: food safety of the populations and of course the education of children. None of this would have been possible without the support, all the more precious during these difficult times, of partners and donors to whom Helpsimus are very grateful.

Visit their website at Helpsimus. More information on Helpsimus’ work in 2021 can be found on their annual report: 2021 annual report | Helpsimus

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