Saving Endangered Lemurs in Madagascar with Wildlife Conservation Society and Cool Effect

I admit, I’m a sucker for ‘charismatic megafauna.‘ I mean, that’s the whole point, right? Charismatic megafauna are those key species that are more gigantic, more adorable, or somehow seen as more ‘save-able.’ I mean, how can you not fall in love with this little guy:

Red Ruffed Lemur; photo by Julie Larsen Maher

But I also also understand the importance of a diverse ecosystem, and was happy to read the news from Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and Cool Effect about their new partnership to protect the diverse ecosystem in Makira Natural Park in Madagascar. Their partnership will help conserve the habitat of four endangered lemur species and some other, perhaps overlooked species, like these little critters:

Lined leaf tail gecko
Lined leaf tail gecko; photo by Julie Larsen Maher

Cool Effect works like a crowdfunding platform, but their projects are carefully chosen based on strict sustainability criteria. Their unique projects include only those that have been vetted by rigorous scientific modeling and have proven track records of carbon reduction and have verified carbon standards. The following comes from their press release.

Through Cool Effect’s digital platform, individuals can now support the Makira Natural Park Project by making a one-time contribution or a monthly pledge. Continued conservation efforts protect the park’s biodiversity, which is home to an incredible array of wildlife, including four lemur species that are critically endangered. Support of the project will also directly benefit the local community by improving infrastructure, providing health and education services, and supporting the training and continued implementation of sustainable agricultural practices.

“WCS is delighted to partner with Cool Effect to fight climate change by helping safeguard the carbon-rich Makira forest, Madagascar’s most biodiverse protected area” said Todd Stevens, WCS Executive Director of Markets, Conservation Solutions. “Not only will the Cool Effect community be doing its part to keep the climate cool, but it will also help save incredible wildlife including 20 species of lemurs and more than 50 percent of Madagascar’s plant diversity.”

Launched in 2005, the Makira Natural Park Project was developed by WCS in partnership with the Government of Madagascar as a REDD+ project (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation “plus” conservation). Upon its inception, the project was the first sale of government-owned, government-led REDD+ credits in Africa. Makira Natural Park covers a total of 372,460 hectares, is one of Madagascar’s largest protected areas, and is home to an estimated 1% of the world’s biodiversity. With consistent funding to the project, Madagascar’s government hopes to protect the forest and foster sustainable development.

“The addition of the Makira Natural Park Project further maintains the promise to our Cool Effect community that we will continue to bring them only the highest quality carbon reducing projects,” said Marisa de Belloy, COO of Cool Effect. “We are excited to partner with WCS to support the project and Madagascar’s efforts to protect this valuable, biodiverse habitat.”

About Cool Effect:

Cool Effect currently features eleven projects on the platform all across the globe, verifiably reducing carbon with simple technology such as efficient cookstoves, wind turbines, and biogas digesters. The price per tonne varies by project and ranges from $4.12 – $13.18, with 90.13% of the funds dedicated directly to the projects and the remaining 9.87% covering transaction charges and Cool Effect’s operational fees – the minimum needed to operate as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Learn more about their work Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

About the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS):

MISSION: WCS saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature. To achieve our mission, WCS, based at the Bronx Zoo, harnesses the power of its Global Conservation Program in nearly 60 nations and in all the world’s oceans and its five wildlife parks in New York City, visited by 4 million people annually. WCS combines its expertise in the field, zoos, and aquarium to achieve its conservation mission.

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