Tiny Monkeys in South America
Tiny monkeys from South America are in grave danger, none more so than the pied tamarin from the region around Manaus. This and other endangered South American monkeys benefit from the AFD-approved project Training for Tamarin Conservation.
Tamarins are small rainforest-dwelling monkeys, which are facing extinction because of loss of habitat. Many end up in zoos and rescue centers. Training for Tamarin Conservation brings together the animal keepers and conservationists from Jersey Zoo with their counterparts in Brazil in courses and practical sessions teaching tamarin conservation, including how to improve captive conditions for the little monkeys and how to release them back to the wild. A significant portion of course/practical content covers working with local communities to set up and manage protected areas, including creating corridors of trees linking one patch of forest to another.
World’s Rarest Duck
The rarest duck in the world is the Madagascar pochard, which benefits from Durrell's largest field program, along with many other endangered species from Madagascar. With a budget of more than a million dollars, a staff of 40 and operations in six remote sites, this program is partially supported by three AFD projects: Madagascar Program Management and Coordination, Madagascar Program Strategic Development and Durrell Conservation Training Madagascar.
AFD also supports the Alison Jolly Madagascar Scholarship, an annual award to a Malagasy conservationist to attend courses offered by Durrell Conservation Academy. The Scholarship was created to honor Dr Alison Jolly, an eminent American primatologist who was among the first scientists to study wild lemurs, devoting her life to them and to the people of Madagascar for fifty years. She wrote about her lifelong love affair with Madagascar in Thank You, Madagascar - Conservation Diaries of Alison Jolly. Alison was a great friend of Gerald and Lee Durrell.
Another significant AFD-supported project in Madagascar is Durrell’s long-running effort to save the ploughshare tortoise, the rarest tortoise in the world. Suffering from a history of hunting and habitat loss, it is now critically endangered by the the illegal international trade in wildlife.
Frogs of the Caribbean
The Caribbean Islands have the largest proportion of threatened amphibians in the world. AFD is supporting Durrell's multi-year rescue effort called Saving Amphibians from Extinction in the Caribbean. One of the threats is the global epidemic of the deadly frog-attacking chytrid fungus. Durrell is working in Montserrat and Dominica to study the spread of chytrid and to try to control its effects by environmental manipulation. Other threats come from habitat loss, which is especially serious on the enormous island of Hispaniola. Durrell is leading surveys on the distribution and population sizes of amphibians in Haiti and the Dominican Republic to guide decisions on conservation action, as well as training local people in these skills. Durrell is initiating breeding trials for a number of species, as captive breeding will be a necessary tool for preventing the extinction of many of them.
AFD has also supported the recovery program for the rarest snake in the world, the St Lucia racer, by funding breeding facilities on the Caribbean island of St Lucia, where it was once found. Breeding stock has come from the few racers discovered on a tiny offshore island.