In 1998, the Molecular Genetics Department of Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo began a biodiversity survey. The department decided to focus on the island of Madagascar, one of the world's greatest biodiversity hotspots, with endangered plants and animals that exist nowhere else on earth. This project, now called the Madagascar Biodiversity Partnership (MBP), began with the collection of samples and distribution data from the island's rare flora and fauna. The intent of these collections was to find differences in species distribution and conduct surveys used to identify key habitats with unique diversity. This habitat and animal research helps wildlife agencies & organizations maximize the impact of their conservation efforts, without research endangered populations cannot be managed or protected. Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo's MBP research has led to the discovery of 21 new lemur species!
However, science alone cannot be the only component to conservation of the island’s biodiversity. The MBP has expanded their efforts to include community-based conservation, education and outreach.
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