Madagascar fights to save lemurs from extinction

SCRIPT:

It takes several hours of trekking through the forest before you can find them.

There are around 105 species of Lemur on Madagascar but their numbers are falling -- and most are threatened.

Deforestation and poaching has taken its toll on these animals only found in Madagascar -- some experts believe in 20 years, they'll be extinct

SOUNDBITE 1: Benjamin Andriamihaja, director of ICTE (Institute for the Conservation of Tropical Environments) [French, 23 sec]:

"People still carry out illegal activities, like the destruction of precious timber, mineral resources that can be found in the forest. Because they are poor it's their means of survival. So here we have to set up revenue-generating activities so that people can improve their quality of life."

Developing ecotourism is one possible money spinner that may boost the local economy -- and help save the Lemurs.

Education is also seen as key -- encouraging locals to eat less bush meat and understand the importance of protecting the environment.

On top of that there's the ongoing political instability in Madagascar -- which itself has accelerated the decline of the lemur:

SOUNDBITE 2: Tovonanahary Rasolofoharivelo, primatologist [French, 27 sec]:

"With the crisis, when the illegal trade in Rosewood began in Madagascar, people who came from other parts of the country RATHER than those living next to the forest were senT into the forest to cut wood. And they didn't bring any food with them but once in the forest they found that cutting wood isn't easy so they started hunting lemurs for their meat."

The exact number of lemurs on Madagascar is unknown But with 200,000 hectares of their forest habitat being lost every year, without help, there is little hope for the future of the island's iconic primates.

SHOTLIST:

Ranomafana, Madagascar, 6-9 Aug, 2013

SOURCE: AFPTV

-VAR tourists trekking in Ranomafana National Park

-VAR lemurs in the park

-VAR town of Ranomafana

SOUNDBITE 1: Benjamin Andriamihaja, director of ICTE (Institute for the Conservation of Tropical Environments):

-VAR tourists trekking in Ranomafana National Park

-Information sign in the park

-VAR tourists trekking in Ranomafana National Park

-Soldiers in the national park

SOUNDBITE 2: Tovonanahary Rasolofoharivelo, primatologist [French, 27 sec]:

-VAR lemurs in in Ranomafana National Park