The charity has made a substantial grant to help save the species from extinction and empower local communities to protect them.
The award was made on World Lemur Day which aims to raise awareness that 91% of the 103 known lemur species are threatened, which makes them the most endangered primate on the planet.
YWPF which supports conservation and welfare projects around the world, is supporting range of activities in Madagascar from research monitoring behaviour, habitat and impacts on the lemurs to working with the local community developing education projects and sustainable community schemes.
“On World Lemur Day, it is fitting that YWPF announces further support the projects in Madagascar to save lemurs – this work is critical to their future” said Cheryl Williams, trustee of the Foundation, which is based at the Yorkshire Wildlife Park at Branton, near Doncaster.
YWPF is working with local charity Helpsimus on long-term management and protection schemes on the island. The work will support bamboo lemurs, whose numbers have dropped to 900, red bellied lemurs, red-ruffed lemurs and Peyrieras’ woolly lemurs.
Four YWP rangers will also travel to Madagascar to work on field conservation projects to transfer skills to workers and local communities. The project will be led by Dr. Matt Hartley, Head of Animals at Yorkshire Wildlife Park.
The Foundation has previously supported projects that have protected land from slash-and-burn farming that is destroying habitat on Madagascar, one of the major threats to lemur habitat.
Helpsimus has launched the Bamboo Lemur Program that features scientific monitoring, habitat protection, providing developmental aid for local communities and support for children’s education.
The YWPF grant will also help to evaluate the behavioural flexibility of European captive born animals that is an essential step toward the reintroduction of animals to the wild.
YWPF is based at Yorkshire Wildlife Park where Rangers raise funds for conservation projects. Lemur Woods is a favourite with visitors. Here, in the one acre woods, visitors walk amongst the ring tailed and red bellied lemurs and can find out more about these mischievous and charismatic animals.
In Malagasy, the native language of Madagascar, Lemur means ‘ ghost’ or ‘spirit’ because of their haunting calls across the tree canopies. This is fitting as the park is gearing up for spooky Hallowe’en half-term with a special Grimm’s Scary Tales event.