Zoo’s Reforestation Efforts Reach 5 Million Trees Planted in Madagascar

Photo: Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium

(Omaha, NE) -- Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium has planted its 5- millionth tree in Madagascar.

The zoo says the effort is in collaboration with the Madagascar Biodiversity Partnership and supported by the Arbor Day Foundation. In a release, the zoo says, "For 13 years, these reforestation efforts have been focused on providing habitat for lemurs, the most threatened group of primates in the world. Habitat loss is one of the biggest threats to all of Madagascar's remaining lemur species."

The reforestation program is located in Kianjavato, a small community situated in southeastern Madagascar. The forest fragments surrounding Kianjavato are home to nine lemur species, including the critically endangered black-and-white ruffed lemur, which can be seen at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium. In addition to the 5-millionth tree, another 1,000 native trees were planted along a forest fragment that had been devastated by a recent cyclone.

The zoo says a variety of native trees are planted to regrow lemur habitats, while timber and fruiting trees are planted to provide resources for the surrounding community. Local people voluntarily participate in weekly planting events organized by MBP employees. “About 18,000 trees are typically planted every week,” said Dr. Edward E. Louis Jr., Director of Conservation Genetics at the Zoo and founder of the MBP. “We are driving, and on track, to add a million trees to the Kianjavato region per year from now on, despite the cyclones and other hurdles placed in front of the Kianjavato community and MBP staff.”

Community members can support more tree plantings and MBP staff by purchasing a commemorative t-shirt here.

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