Conservation of threatened lemur species in Antrema
In the Antrema region of Madagascar, crowned sifakas (large diurnal lemurs) are considered by the local population to be the incarnation of their ancestors. The region is home to the only viable population of crowned sifakas in the world, with 800 individuals, and is also the habitat of 8 mongoose lemur pairs. Classified by the IUCN as ‘endangered’ (crowned sifaka) and ‘critically endangered’ (mongoose lemur), these two species are threatened by habitat fragmentation and bush fires. To alleviate the problem, biological corridors need to be created between the forest areas, with plant species that form part of the species’ diet, and an accurate count of the lemurs needs to be made.
The goal of this project is to establish the population dynamics of the two species according to their habitat in order to reduce natural and anthropogenic pressures.
The land use dynamics of the new protected area, the ‘Antrema Biocultural Site’, will be studied via satellite images. The results of this research will allow conservation and creation of corridors in the most relevant areas. A better understanding of the lemur diet will also be gained through ethnobotanical surveys, followed by ecological field observations to identify the plants/parts of plants the lemurs eat. Data will also be collected on the population size of the two species. Finally, an inventory will be drawn up of the yams collected by local people. Attempts will be made to transplant the yams to prevent holes being dug in the forest floor.
Final report summary (December 2020) :
Over the funding period, a study and a mapping of the soils were done through satellite records and field studies. It appears that the forested area is decreasing.
A following study among 36 households enabled to identify 62 plant species used both by humans and lemurs. The ex-situ regeneration of 13 of them has been studied in laboratory.
Meanwhile, 106 Mongoose lemur were counted. This number will be a base for the next census. Also 814 crowned sifakas were counted over the project period. Finally, a fat-tailed dwarf lemur couple has been spotted. A total of 6 lemur species were observed.
The plant species consumed by lemurs been identified, a vast restauration project of the corridors and biological bridges is now planned.