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SAVA Conservation

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Miaro atiala, mamboly fiainana

Protect the forest, and life will grow

The DLC-SAVA Conservation project is dedicated to preserving the natural biodiversity of Madagascar—especially its charismatic lemurs—by empowering local communities to be conservation leaders. Our goals are preserving natural environments as well as increasing sustainability and resilience. We achieve these goals through activities centered on education, reforestation, sustainable agriculture, alternative protein sources (to reduce bush meat hunting), fuel-efficient stoves, research, and much more.

The DLC’s conservation projects in Madagascar are funded entirely through grants and donations, so your contributions turn our conservation dreams into realities. Please consider supporting us with a tax-deductible donation today!

Learn more: Additional DLC-SAVA Conservation videos can be viewed in our video library.


The mission of DLC-SAVA Conservation is to conserve biodiversity in Madagascar by supporting the livelihoods of rural people in forest-bordering communities and through collaborations with researchers, local environmental organizations, and governmental institutions. We collaborate with Malagasy to promote environmental education, reforestation, sustainable agriculture, rainforest protection, family planning, and conservation-oriented lemur research.

Environmental Education

Student engagement

The DLC is a major resource for undergraduate and graduate student education. The Duke Engineers for International Development (DEID) have conducted a water management project, led by undergraduate students to work in the SAVA region. Through the Duke Global Health Institute, the Bass Connections program has had four vertically-integrated teams of undergraduate, graduate, medical and veterinary students, postdocs, and faculty conduct One Health and Public Health research at Marojejy National Park.

Through DukeEngage, students have helped with conservation and development projects to build and research fish farms, to study lemurs, and much more. All projects are facilitated by DLC-SAVA. DLC-SAVA also works closely with the local university in the region (CURSA), which trains Malagasy undergraduates in Nature and Environmental Sciences, among other disciplines. We provide scholarships for graduates to attend graduate school in the capital city and pair students with research mentors to conduct new and innovative science in the SAVA region.

DLC-SAVA newsletter

Curious what our latest conservation projects are in northeastern Madagascar? Read the latest edition of the SAVA Conservation newsletter free online!

Frequently asked questions
Why does Madagascar matter?

Madagascar is the fourth largest island in the world and features some of Earth’s most amazing and diverse life. Isolated for nearly 90 million years, the plants and animals of Madagascar evolved their own unique characteristics, not found elsewhere on the planet. Almost all of the mammals, reptiles, and amphibians, and over 90% of the plant species (over 12,000) are found nowhere else on the planet.

Madagascar is the only place on Earth where lemurs are found in the wild. Sadly, since the arrival of humans 3,500 years ago, tremendous deforestation and animal extinctions have occurred. Less than 15% of Madagascar is now covered in natural forest, and within the last 60 years, forest cover has decreased by over 40%. At least 17 species of lemur have gone extinct, and 95% of remaining species are classified as Critically Endangered, Endangered, or Vulnerable -- making lemurs the most endangered group of mammals on Earth.

To learn more about why Madagascar matters, please CLICK HERE.

100% of funds for the DLC's conservation projects comes from donors and grants. Please consider making a contribution today to support SAVA conservation. Thank you!

How does the DLC-SAVA project help?

Having worked in Madagascar for over 35 years, the Duke Lemur Center has learned that sustainable forest protection is a long-term investment and requires building relationships and empowering local people. Thus the DLC-SAVA Conservation project relies on a community-based approach to protect the environment. A multi-disciplinary array of diverse activities are designed to ultimately address environmental issues affecting conservation and sustainability while simultaneously improving the lives of the local people. All project activities focus on capacity building, education, research, partnership, and empowering local stakeholders at all levels.

To learn about specific DLC-SAVA project activities -- including environmental education, reforestation, sustainable farming, and more -- please visit our capacity building webpage.

100% of funds for the DLC's conservation projects comes from donors and grants. Please consider making a contribution today to support SAVA conservation. Thank you!

How can I learn more?

Get in touch with SAVA Conservation! Submit your question or inquiry to

Read the DLC-SAVA newsletter to keep up to date with the latest news and information on the DLC-SAVA project.

Join us for our annual Mission: Madagascar fall gala, where you can meet DLC conservation staff and supporters.

Read our “Notes from the Field” blog series, chronicling DLC Research Scientist's Marina Blanco’s field expedition to Madagascar.

Read "Charlie's Travelogue," detailing Conservation Coordinator Charlie Welch's trip to Madagascar in February 2018.

Can I travel with you to Madagascar?

Join the Duke Lemur Center in Madagascar! We invite you to be part of the DLC's annual Magical Madagascar EcoTour, an exclusive and remarkable adventure to one of the most extraordinary places on Earth.

DLC-SAVA staff
Charlie Welch

Photo of DLC conservation coordinator Charlie Welch in Madagascar

Charlie Welch, DLC Conservation Coordinator – Charlie is based at the Duke Lemur Center in Durham, NC and has nearly 35 years of experience working in Madagascar conservation, including 15 years living in Madagascar. In 2004, Welch was awarded the Chevalier de l’Ordre National by the government of Madagascar for conservation accomplishments in the Tamatave region, while with the Madagascar Fauna and Flora group. Welch now coordinates all project activities, both at the DLC and in Madagascar. Contact:

James Herrera, Ph.D.

Image of James Hererra, DLC-SAVA Program Coordinator, standing on a mountain in Madagascar

James Herrera, Ph.D., DLC-SAVA Program Coordinator – James is based in the SAVA region of Madagascar, with 10+ years of experience with conservation research and outreach in Madagascar. James conducted his Ph.D. at Stony Brook University with Dr. Patricia Wright, studying lemur evolution, ecology, and conservation. He was a research fellow at the American Museum of Natural History, and a researcher with Duke University’s Evolutionary Anthropology department and Duke Global Health Institute. James oversees the implementation and evaluation of all project activities in Madagascar. Contact: Read more about James at his personal website and some of his recent activities in our 2020 DLC-SAVA newsletters.

Lanto Andrianandrasana

Photo of DLC-SAVA program coordinator Lanto in Madagascar

Lanto Andrianandrasana, DLC-SAVA Project Coordinator – Lanto is based in SAVA region of Madagascar. He has worked in the SAVA since 2009 and has been with DLC-SAVA since its inception in 2011. Lanto has been involved in research, with a master's degree in Paleontology, as well as lemur behavior and conservation. Lanto is responsible for project administration in SAVA and the coordination of our activities with local partners. Contact:

Evrard Benasoavina

Evrard Benasoavina, DLC-SAVA Education Specialist - Evrard is a resident of the SAVA region, born in Antalaha and living in Sambava. He earned his degree focused on tourism at the Goethe University in the capital city, Antananarivo. Evrard has worked as an ecotourist guide, nature interpreter, and biology researcher. He founded the New Generation School Garden, outside of the city of Sambava, an interpretive center to host educational visits for people of all ages. Over 1,000 students have already been served in 2020-2021 as part of school groups visits. He is now the Education Specialist with the Duke Lemur Center SAVA Conservation program in Madagascar.