Project History & Aims
AEECL is a consortium of European Zoological Gardens, who have joined forces to carry out conservation and research projects for Madagascar’s highly endangered lemurs.
One of their priorities is the blue-eyed black lemur (Eulemur flavifrons), one of Madagascar’s rarest lemur species, and hence the species featured in our logo.
Currently 32 member zoological associations fund and support the work of the AEECL with a further 11 sponsors and partners also providing support from Europe and the USA. Such backing has ensured the successful creation of a protected reserve in Northwest Madagascar for the critically endangered blue-eyed black (Sclater’s) lemur, helped research students and rangers monitor and discourage poaching and illegal logging, support local villagers through educational programmes and by developing effective fire breaks in the forest and help reforest already damaged areas.
AEECL members were instrumental in establishing the EEP captive breeding programmes for blue-eyed black lemurs, red-bellied lemurs and crowned lemurs and many AEECL members keep these species within their animal collections. These programmes aim at establishing self-sustaining captive populations of the species which can serve both as model populations to learn more about the species’ biology as well as reserves for possible future reintroduction projects. ZSEA participates in all three of these breeding programmes.
World Lemur Festival 2015
The goal of this festival is to raise awareness about the importance of lemurs and to improve knowledge about lemurs in Madagascar and also globally. This year the theme of the festival was “Lemurs: National Heritage, Friends Should Be Protected”. The festival took place in Madagascar on the 30th and 31st of October 2015.
To improve the visibility of the AEECL around Madagascar, ZSEA provided two magnetic signs with the AEECL logo which are now secured to both front doors of the AEECL’s car.
Teaching & Education
AEECL subsidizes 69 teaching staff from three communes around the Sahamalaza Park, where there are approximately 2,850 children attending.
Although funding is critical and enables the smooth running of the AEECL charity, it is the alliance with zoo personnel and other professionals that facilitates the work of the association further by utilising external expertise and experience to further enhance the aims of the AEECL.
Réserve Zoologique Calviac, a zoo in France, has launched a scholarship programme to sponsor children to attend school and so far ten students have benefitted from this with another five selected for the new school year.
How is Banham Zoo supporting AEECL?
The Zoological Society of East Anglia (ZSEA) and previously the Friends of Banham Zoo have had a close relationship with the AEECL since 1993 and over the past 16 years has donated more than £79,500, including staff time, towards the vital conservation and education work this association carries out for the conservation of lemurs.
Gary Batters, ZSEA’s Director of Conservation & Education, works directly with the AEECL and holds the position of Vice President on the board. A visit to Madagascar in 2014 enabled Gary to see first-hand the work AEECL are doing and how further collaboration and funding are needed to continue the conservation and education work. Clare Collins, the Conservation Officer for ZSEA, is the AEECL’s website and social media assistant, ensuring news of the AEECL’s work is effectively communicated.
ZSEA Banham Zoo donated £2,500 to AEECL in 2016.
In the past 17 years Banham Zoo & Africa Alive! have donated £84,820 to AEECL.
For more information visit www.aeecl.org.
Photos courtesy of AAECL.