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Helping the Madagascar Lemur

Like so many animals on earth, the Madagascar lemur is under threat.  The species is the world's most threatened primate - but researchers have a plan - which combines tourism with conservation.

Madagascar is the only known home to the lemur.  Split off from the African mainland, its geographical position has allowed the primates to evolve in near isolation.  Madagascar's five endemic lemur families represent over 20% of the primate species in the world - but they face extinction.  However, there's an emergency conservation plan. 

The Bristol Zoological Society works in Madagascar in partnership with 30 European Zoos to help safeguard the future of Madagascar’s lemurs.  Their efforts form part of the AEECL - the Association Européenne pour l’Etude et la Conservation des Lémuriens.   The Society is involved in field-based research, community-based development programmes with local people, maintaining a population of lemurs in human care

Madagascar travel guide from Lonely Planet

Madagascar Travel Guide from Lonely Planet

Scientists are aware of over 100 lemur species - and they are at extremely low levels in number.  This is mainly because the lemurs have lost their homes - their habitat - due to illegal logging.  This illegal activity has got a lot worse since a coup in 2009 and the political turmoil which followed.  And theres no envrionmental policing. 

So now 90% of the species are at risk.  And they are on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature's (IUCN)'s red list of threatened species.

This approach has worked bedfore;  in Rwanda and Uganda, visitors are willing to pay a premium to see endangered mountain gorillas in their natural habitat.

In Madagascar's Maromizaha forest - home to at least 13 lemur species - locals have been taught English and French and several now work as guides. A multi-purpose interpretive centre has also been built.  Visitors are increasing in numbers;  they spend money in local communities and this helps contribute towards the upkeep and maintenance of protected areas.

There are also efforts as part of a new three-year emergency action plan to increase the number of long-term research field stations and build up conservation programmes.  It has been found that field stations have deterred illegal activity on areas which are protected.

Jersey based Durrell has been working in Madagascar for 25 years and you can find more about the animals in Madagascar on Durrell's website and also their conservation efforts on the island. 

 Head to help the Madagascar lemur on a lemur conservation holiday  

For Madagasca holidays to see wildlife, click here For Madagasca holidays to see wildlife, click here

Feed the lemurs at Paradise Wildlife Park in Hertfordshire 

And if you can't get to Madagascar to visit the lemur, you can meet them through a lemur experience through Virgin Experience Days - treat a friend and yourself!

Instead of going to Madagascar, head to Hertfordshire and Paradise Wildlife Park, where you can Feed the Lemurs in Hertfordshire