Omaha's Zoo helps reforesting effort to save Madagascar lemurs

Published: Aug. 29, 2018 at 6:43 PM CDT
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The Henry Doorly Zoo began conservation efforts in Madagascar back in 2012. By 2016 they had planted one million trees. Now, they've reached two million in nearly half the time. The trees are vital to lemurs which are only found in the country.

“All of the lemur species in Madagascar, habitat loss is actually the biggest threat that they face due to population size across the world. We are seeing more and more human beings and as we have more population that actually means there's less habitat,” said Vice President of Conservation Cheryl Morris.

The black and white ruffed lemur are ranked among the 25 most critically endangered species around the world. The Henry Doorly Zoo's efforts haven’t gone unnoticed.

“We've been following their conservation in Madagascar through the years and think it’s wonderful,” said Patty Tipler.

All of this started when the President of Conservation, Dr. Ed Luis, saw the need while visiting Madagascar. He was compelled to do something.

Funds for the project come from many different places, including zoo visitors.

“What most people probably don't know is that just their visit to the Omaha Zoo – just by coming and seeing them, a part of ticket price that you paid for the front gate, part of the pop that you buy or the gifts that you buy in our gift shop – a portion of that actually all go back to a conservation programming,” said Morris.

Officials tell 6 News the mission is far from over. They plan adding more nurseries to grow more trees with the hope of creating more resources for the communities, like paper and wood products.

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