Chapter

New Directions in Lemur Studies

pp 269-281

Lemurs as Flagships for Conservation in Madagascar

  • Joanna C. DurbinAffiliated withJersey Wildlife Preservation Trust

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Abstract

Lemurs are the best known Malagasy wildlife, attracting international attention to Madagascar’s unique biodiversity and to the ecological changes that threaten their existence. Lemurs have been the underlying impetus for the creation of some of Madagascar’s protected areas, which aim to conserve entire forest ecosystems. The presence of rare lemurs has drawn researchers, funding, and conservation measures to certain areas. Lemurs are being used as indicator species for ecological monitoring. Lemurs are also prime attractions for visitors, thus making a major economic contribution to a growing tourist industry and, potentially, to the future maintenance of protected areas. However, international and national support is insufficient to ensure conservation as local people strive to maintain their livelihoods. The Black Lemur Forest Project, Parc Ivoloina’s environmental education center, Parc Botanique et Zoologique de Tsimbazaza and Jersey Wildlife Preservation Trust’s Project Alaotra, demonstrate that lemurs can provide an effective focus for education and awareness programs at the local level leading to community-based conservation initiatives.