SOS Lemurs was launched to support lemur conservation, in particular through the implementation of the IUCN/SSC Lemur Conservation Strategy. This 5-year initiative (2017-2022) is funded by a Geneva-based private foundation.
Madagascar is one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots ranking among the top 5-6 mega-diverse countries in the world and is the second most diverse in terms of primate species. However, according to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™, 33 lemur species are Critically Endangered. Furthermore, out of more than 110 surviving species, 103 are threatened with extinction. This is due to habitat destruction caused by slash-and-burn agriculture and illegal logging, as well as hunting and keeping lemurs as pets. Combined, these pressures have made lemurs the most threatened mammal group on earth. Considering the universality of the threats and challenges affecting different lemur species, a coordinated conservation initiative can make a significant difference across many communities and species.
The SOS Lemurs initiative is aligned with the recommendations and priorities for lemur conservation as presented in the document published by the IUCN/SSC Primate Specialist Group: Lemurs of Madagascar – A strategy for their conservation 2013-2016
Ultimately SOS Lemurs aims to provide small to medium size grants to Civil Society Organisations in order to:
- Ensure key lemur populations across key sites are secured;
- Empower relevant communities with skills and livelihood options to help them coexist with lemurs;
- Help local conservation actors/NGOs develop their long-term development goals through knowledge sharing and financial support.
In 2022, SOS Lemurs underwent an independent evaluation to assess the overall performance of the initiative. It concluded that the initiative was a very successful project, with simple grant-making procedures and accessible to many NGOs, including small entities from civil society. Click here to read the full evaluation summary.