Established in 1994 by scientists from the Department of Paleontology and Biological Anthropology and the Department of Animal Biology of the University of Antananarivo, the Group for Study and Research on Primates of Madagascar (GERP) is a Malagasy association non-profit organization of nearly 200 members, mostly multidisciplinary scientists, researchers teachers, students, but the group also welcomes members working in various environmental sectors.
Its purpose is focused on scientific research and conservation of the primates of Madagascar. The association pursues foremost objective study of their geographical distribution, the implementation of conservation plans and participation in the discovery of new species. The organization is also responsible for transferring animals weakened by the destruction of their habitat to protected areas and zoos.
Collaboration with other actors in the protection of lemurs on the island, and the application of various educational programs for local populations, is another important aspect of its specifications .
Since its inception, GERP’s research has notably contributed to the recognition of three new species of lemurs:
Microcebus berthae (Microcèbe de Madame Berthe, (2000), named in honor of one of the founding members of GERP, Professeor Berthe Rakotosamimanana.
– Microcebus macarthurii (2008), named in honor of the MacArthur Foundation, a partner who provides financial support for GERP’s activities.
– Microcebus gerpi (2012), named in honor of the association.
Research on lemurs is of paramount importance in the economic development strategy of the country of Madagascar. Lemurs play an important role in the pollination of some seeds and in their dissemination. Also, their disappearance may consequently, disrupt the survival of some plants, even in the food chain.
The loss of lemur habitat through deforestation or other impacts means that Madagascar may eliminate species before any data collection has been performed. GERP is working to avoid this, while doing research on the primates of Madagascar, and establishing conservation plans that contribute to our knowledge of lemurs in their natural sites, in the laboratory, and in parks and zoological gardens.
In addition, GERP publications appear in national and international scientific journals. The association also offers theoretical and practical training in primatology and participates in targeted education programs to raise awareness about the environment among even the youngest students. It also allows the introduction of new models of integrated conservation that improve the environment and living conditions of people living in peripheral areas, particularly where the protected areas are also home to protected primates.
GERP works toward the protection and conservation of lemurs on the island of Madagascar in accordance with the legislation in force and in the context of sustainable development. The association does not act alone in carrying out its objectives. Partners and donors contribute to the accomplishment of its mission, like the MacArthur Foundation Tany Meva , the World Bank, Conservation International , Madagascar Biodiversity Conservation, University of Turin, SGP / GEF, SA / Ambatovy and Primaklima. In 2014 The Houston Zoo became a partner with GERP, providing financial support for its research and programs.
GERP Secretary: Prof. Jonah Ratsimbazafy email: firstname.lastname@example.org