Extreme poverty is contributing to already catastrophic forest destruction in Madagascar. The habitat of endangered animals like mouse lemurs is fast disappearing. Project Microcebus will help ensure the long-term survival of mouse lemurs, engaging communities through environmental education, tree planting and encouraging them to protect its threatened habitat. Research will alert the global community to a new candidate species and strengthen the case for the protection of these forests.
The Anosy region of Madagascar is renowned for containing some of the country's few remaining coastal forests. But poverty is exacerbating extreme environmental degradation, with just 10% of the original forest remaining. This loss threatens the habitats of the already endangered mouse lemurs. These tiny creatures are seeing rapid habitat loss as communities affected by poverty look to the forests to support livelihoods, combined with further threats from international mining interests.
Project Microcebus will work directly with local communities and conduct vital new research to help protect habitats. Community training will support sustainable forest management and will include environmental education for children, tree planting and fire prevention. Research will underpin our work; by sharing findings with the international conservation community and giving candidate lemur species a formal IUCN Red List status, this project will help protect key areas from mining threats.
Providing community engagement and education will not only support the protection of lemur species but will provide long-term local awareness of the importance of environmental protection. Lemurs are one of the planet's most endangered mammal groups and our research into a new species of primate is incredibly significant. The mouse lemur will act as a "flagship species" for the area, stimulating an interest in conservation and ecotourism for impoverished and isolated communities.