Madagascar, one of the world’s most important biodiversity hotspots, is home to extraordinary plants and animals that cannot be found anywhere else on earth. Sadly, over 50% of the original forests since the 1950's have been destroyed due to deforestation, leaving the very existence of these unique species under serious threat.
Establish a research program that is grounded in community-based conservation and education.
Why is Madagascar in trouble?
Water problems affect half of the world’s humanity and 80% of the world’s diseases can be linked to unsafe water and lack of sanitation. In developing countries 1.1 billion people have inadequate access to water and 2.6 billion lack basic sanitation. Also, 17% of the human population live without electricity.
Madagascar is considered one of the most diverse and ecologically important biodiversity hot spots in the world.
How the MBP was Established
Dr. Edward Louis Jr., Director of the Conservation Genetics Department at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium (OHDZA), has been working in Madagascar since 1998. The focus of the program has been to develop baseline molecular genetics and distribution data on Malagasy flora and fauna with an emphasis on lemur species. Since the onset of OHDZA’s involvement in Madagascar, this conservation research effort has produced over 180 scientific publications including manuscripts describing 23 new species of lemur and elevating eight others to species level.
In 2010, Dr. Louis established the Madagascar Biodiversity Partnership (MBP), a Malagasy non-governmental organization, as an extension of the innovative conservation projects throughout the country. Together, MBP and OHDZA strive to protect local forests for the wildlife while ecologically and environmentally raising the standard of living for thousands of people who are equally reliant upon the natural resources. Believing that everything is connected, or “Mampifandray ny tontolo”, MBP and OHDZA incorporates research, education and community involvement to achieve sustainability. This multifaceted program was recognized for its efforts with the 2010 Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ International Conservation Award.