Classed among the world’s 25 most endangered primates, the blue-eyed lemur (Eulemur flavifrons) is a victim of deforestation (logging and ‘tavy’ or slash-and-burn agriculture are gradually destroying its habitat) and of being hunted and trapped for its meat and the illegal trade in the species. These lemurs also have a very small range (they live only in north-west Madagascar, on the Sahamalaza peninsula) and the overall population is highly fragmented.
Since 2002 the Zoo de La Palmyre has supported the work of the AEECL, most notably the creation of the Sahamalaza National Park in 2007.
The organisation studies blue-eyed lemur ecology and encourages the sustainable use of natural resources by the local population while also seeking to improve living conditions in communities surrounding the National Park.
The AEECL is active in several spheres:
– scientific research
The Ankarafa forest research station set up by the AEECL in the Sahamalaza National Park regularly welcomes university researchers specialising in the eco-ethology of blue-eyed lemurs and other lemur species in the area and in the different anthropogenic pressures they face.
– habitat and wildlife protection
Eco-wardens carry out regular surveillance patrols of the Ankarafa forest. Local communities help set up firewalls and participate in an annual reforestation program.
– help with sustainable community development
The AEECL organises training sessions for tourist guides to the Sahamalaza National Park and surrounding region. It also builds bungalows to foster ecotourism on the site. Additionally, it supports local communities by building wells to facilitate access to drinking water, trains gardeners responsible for producing and raising trees that will be used for reforestation, and maintains ricefield drainage canals.
The AEECL builds and finances schools in villages bordering the National Park and also regularly takes place in environmental events (national lemur festival, environment day, Malagasy national day…).
Website : www.aeecl.org
 Association Européenne pour l'Etude et la Conservation des Lémuriens.
Photo credit: Randriatahina, C. Schwitzer.