Meet Madagascar's 'honey-coloured teddy bear'

With rounded features and a fluffy coat, Gerald Durrell's description of the Alaotran gentle lemur is very fitting! This highly threatened lemur is the only primate to live exclusively over water, hidden in the dense marshes surrounding Madagascar's largest lake, Lac Alaotra.

The lemurs are under threat from the illegal burning of their habitat for conversion to rice plantations and invasive species preventing the regeneration of remaining marshlands. We’re working with local communities in Alaotra to protect these unique primates and their precious habitat.

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Animal facts

Key facts about the Alaotran gentle lemur

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I’m found in Madagascar

Alaotran gentle lemurs are only found in the marshlands of Lac Alaotra, Madagascar’s largest lake.

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I live in reed beds above water

Alaotran gentle lemurs are the only lemur species to live above water in bamboo and papyrus reed beds.

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I’m known locally as ‘bandro’

The bandro is culturally sacred to Madagascar’s Sihanaka tribe.


our work in Alaotra starts


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Durrell works with local communities to protect Alaotran gentle lemurs and their precious wetland habitat

What we're doing to help gentle lemurs


Restoring the marshlands

Natural regeneration of the marshlands is restricted by invasive plant species such as water hyacinth and Salvinia, which prevent the movement of water through the reed beds.
What we're doing to help
We work with local communities to clear invasive plants from the marshes and provide training to transform the removed vegetation into usable and sellable products. A total of 4.5km of channels have now been successfully cleared of hyacinth, which will allow the marshes to regenerate on their own.
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Using technology to monitor populations

Alaotran gentle lemurs live in dense reed beds surrounding Lac Alaotra, often in places that canoes cannot reach.
What we're doing to help
By using thermal infrared cameras attached to drones, we can efficiently carry out population surveys of gentle lemurs. This way, we can detect the lemurs from the sky and see into the reed beds that we cannot access via canoe.

Promoting sustainable livelihoods

Not only do healthy marsh habitats support the Alaotran gentle lemur and other native wildlife, but they also provide a sustainable income for many of the local communities that live around the lake.
What we're doing to help
75% of the population around Lac Alaotra rely on fishing and weaving products as their main source of income. A healthy marshland leads to healthy fish stocks and a self-sustaining growth of vegetation, both directly benefitting the local community and economy. We’ve also led training on how to transform invasive plants from the marshes into organic fertiliser for crops.
Meet Alaotra Programme Manager Fidy Ralainasolo and learn about the work we're doing to protect the Alaotran gentle lemur and its precious wetland habitat.

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