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Species News from the Field

  • Capacity building highlights in 2015

    From 11th to 14th of August, Raphali Andriantsimanarilafy, reptiles lead researcher at Madagasikara Voakajy, followed a training Distance Sampling at the University of St Andrews in Scotland. The main objective of this training is to help researchers in the world working on population assessment to have a good knowledge on how to use and how work Distance software. Distance sampling is one method using point or line transect for collecting data in the field. Many researchers from different country or institutions working on different taxa attended this workshop. The training was given by the experts on Distance Sampling from the University of St Andrews. Back in Madagascar, he used (and will continue to use) his newly learned skills to analyse our existing data, and design future research on reptiles and other species within our organization. 


  • Herps team surveying the population structure, microhabitat and activities of Mantella cowanii

                    Mantella cowanii is classified as Endangered by the IUCN red list of threatened species due to its very restricted area of occupancy to a few sites. In addition to that, the species is mainly threatened by the habitat loss. The conservation efforts through the Action Plan Mantella cowanii (APMC) seem to be positive for the species has been down listed from Critically Endangered to Endangered in 2014.

  • Calumma tarzan


    Calumma tarzan, or Tarzan’s chameleon, was discovered in 2009 in the Anosibe An’Ala district.Subsequent research shows that this species is endemic to the district, where it is only know from three small forest fragments: near the village Tarzanville, Ambatofotsy forest and Ampotaka forest.


More News from the Field >>

New Publications

  • file iconThe supply of illegal tortoise meat to Toliara City, south-western Madagascar

    A range of endemic and protected vertebrate species from Madagascar are threatened by the demand for bushmeat. We report on the number of discarded carapaces from illegally killed Critically Endangered radiated tortoises Astrochelys radiata in an urban centre in south-west Madagascar. 

  • file iconHabitat use by the endemic Malagasy bat Hipposideros commersoni in a littoral forest

    We investigated habitat use by the endemic Malagasy bat Hipposideros commersoni in evergreen littoral rainforest during the wet season in 2006, in order to better inform conservation guidelines. We used radiotracking to locate roosting and foraging sites.

  • file iconBat News Winter 2015

    This winter in the UK (summer in Madagascar), the Bat News of Bat Conservation Trust features the Bats of Madagascar. Read the full article here (icon Bat News Winter 2015).

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Bushmeat: science, policy and livelihoods
Many wild animal species in Madagascar are hunted to provide people with food. We are partners on a Darwin Initiative project that aims to reduce illegal hunting and to support the sustainable and equitable use of  animals that can be legally hunted.

This project is led by Bangor University and in addition to Madagasikara Voakajy, involves the Malagasy government, Conservation International, Institute Pasteur and the Département des Eaux et Forêts (ESSA), at the University of Antananarivo.

The sale and consumption of wild animals provides people with vital sources of income and food. In many countries, hunting is considered to have a negative impact on animal populations, leading to declines in large-bodied, slow-growing species and the ecological services (like seed dispersal) that they provide. These species are often legally protected and illegal hunting is thereore a criminal activity that threatens the survival of many species. However, an often overlooked fact is that many wild animal species can be legally and sustainably hunted and this exploitation is a key factor in maintaining traditional livelihoods and landscapes.

There has been very little research undertaken on the use of wild animals for food in Madagascar but there is growing evidence that primates, bats, carnivores, frogs and insectivorous mammals called tenrecs are regurarly eaten by people. This project is primarily aimed at improving the sustainable exploitation of game species in Madagascar. We aim to develop locally appropriate approaches to hunting that serve to conserve the hunted species as well as maintaining traditional practices and supporting livelihoods.

A major part of the first year of this project has seen us test and develop new methods to help us understand how important wild animals are as a source of food for people in urban and rural areas.

We are currently conducting research and supporting student training in the following areas:

  • Best practice for obtaining information on sensitive and illegal behaviour
  • Conservation and sustainable use option for endemic edible frogs
  • Conservation and sustainable use option for endemic fruit bats
  • Conservation and sustainable use option for endemic tenrecs
  • Assessing risk of disease transfer between people and fruit bats
  • Assessing the importance of traditional rules in maintaining sustainable harvests

This project is supported by:

Darwin BU ESSA rufford found