Lemurs around the world are facing extinction, especially on their native island of Madagascar , threatened by expanding agriculture, illegal logging, and hunting.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature says in a new conservation plan that out of 103 species of lemurs, 93 are critically endangered, endangered, or vulnerable.
Lemurs’ home base is Madagascar, a biodiversity hot spot that is under threat from several factors.
The plan details ways to save lemurs.
Included is working closely with local communities and local groups to preserve the lemurs and their habitats, and increasing the number of lemur ecotourism sites through finding adequate funding.
“There is simply no other place on Earth where one can see as many species in a short visit as in Madagascar, where a 7-10 day trip is sure to result in sighing of 15-20 species in the wild,” according to the report. “This is a major asset for Madagascar, and should result in numerous economic benefits in terms of livelihood development for local communities and a major source of foreign exchange for the country as a whole.”
Another key element is maintaining a long term research presence in the country and creating new research projects on species and in areas where there isn’t currently a presence.
“There are three things we know work when it comes to tackling conservation in the field, which are cheap and simple to implement in different areas,” said Dr Russ Mittermeier, president of Conservation International, in the announcement. “First working on grassroots projects with local communities so people can make a difference for themselves, secondly supporting eco-tourism projects and thirdly establishing research stations as a permanent facility to protect against loggers and hunters.”
The variety of actions recommended in the plan is becoming more urgent, says Dr. Christoph Schwitzer, head of research at Bristol Zoo Gardens.
“The strategy effectively contains 30 action plans for 30 different priority sites for lemur conservation,” he said in the announcement. “Our aim will be to use the document to help fundraising for individual projects. The fact is that if we don’t act now we risk losing a species of lemur for the first time in two centuries. The importance of the projects we’ve outlined in this document simply cannot be overstated.”
83 authors participated in the project, which was given out to organizations, government officials, and others in Madagascar on July 31. The projects have a total fundraising goal of $7.6 million
See the plan below or go here.