Actualité | 26 Oct, 2023

SOS Lemurs to continue until 2029 thanks to 9.5 million CHF extension

In an ongoing commitment to protect one of the world’s most threatened primate groups, IUCN Save Our Species is proud to announce the extension of the SOS Lemurs initiative with a 9.5 million CHF second phase. The only initiative dedicated to lemur conservation in the world, SOS Lemurs will run for a further six years until 2029.

Through this second phase, and with the continued support from the IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC) Primate Specialist Group, IUCN will support Malagasy civil society conservation, building on outcomes achieved during Phase I (2017-2023). By 2029, IUCN Save Our Species will have channelled approximately 17.2 million CHF into lemur conservation.

Selected projects will align with the IUCN Save Our Species three pillar approach to conservation action: encompassing protection of species and habitats, while providing livelihood opportunities for Malagasy people, who depend on local biodiversity. Furthermore, these projects will engage with local government and civil society organisations to strengthen sustainable development outcomes including nutrition and poverty alleviation. 

Projects under SOS Lemurs will continue to work with local communities, civil society networks and local government to support knowledge transfer among conservationists, influence national and international policies, build local capacity and raise public awareness on the need to conserve lemurs, among other species.

More information about the initiative, including on calls for proposals, eligibility criteria and financing for projects under SOS Lemurs Phase II will be disclosed at a later date.

During Phase I, SOS Lemurs contributed to the protection of 63 lemur species across 49 projects over the course of six years. Several projects reported notable increases in species populations, restored and improved forest habitats and strengthened food availability for local communities. Read more details on impacts achieved during Phase I in our impact report.

The SOS Lemurs initiative contributes to all four long-term goals of the new Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF). This includes the implementation of strategies to preserve lemur populations, ensure sustainable use of biodiversity, and empower local communities to adopt sustainable livelihoods. SOS Lemurs' efforts to safeguard and restore habitats, reduce deforestation and promote sustainable income-generating activities significantly contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, as well as the global objective of protecting 30% of nature by 2030 under the GBF.

Madagascar is one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots, with a rich diversity of primate species. Unfortunately, according to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™, 90% of all 112 known lemur species are threatened with extinction, and almost a third (31%) are now Critically Endangered – just one step away from extinction. The main threats to lemurs include hunting for food and the pet trade, as well as habitat destruction caused by slash-and-burn agriculture, illegal logging and fires. Combined, these pressures have made lemurs one of the most threatened mammal groups on earth. 

Established by IUCN in 2010, IUCN Save Our Species facilitates the conservation of globally threatened species by providing grants to frontline conservation organisations who have unique knowledge of their local biodiversity. In collaboration with experts from the IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC) and relying on the latest information and recommendations, IUCN Save Our Species addresses priority issues to Keep Nature Standing.

The SOS Lemurs conservation initiative is made possible through the generous support of the Fondation Hans Wilsdorf.