|News from Mangabe-Ranomena-Sasarotra Lemurs|
|Written by Nannye Hasinjara Randriamanantsaina|
|Tuesday, 18 August 2015 22:08|
Returning from her first fieldwork as a Madagasikara Voakajy team member, Nannye Hasinjara Randriamanantsaina relates her experience in Mangabe-Ranomena-Sasarotra new protected area.
What did we do?
I am a primatologist. I joined Madagasikara Voakajy team in May 2015. My mission is to survey the lemurs in the protected areas promoted by our organization, and to integrate their conservation in our interventions. My first fieldwork ran from 11th June to 25th July (in total 45 days), with a team of 20 people, including MV staff member and local assistants, and split into two groups. My group worked around two main villages: Mangabe and Lakambato. We adopted the occupancy modeling method that was already piloted in Mangabe back in 2011 (Keane et al. 2012. Animal Conservation 15: 457-465). We explained and discussed the aim, objectives and the survey methods with the local assistants before conducting the fieldwork. They were very interested about the work, especially those already involved during the pilot study. It took us approximately 3.30 hours to set up the monitoring plots and do the habitat description. Each subsequent visit (five in total) took about 1.30 hours.
What did we find?
We observed five species of lemurs: the giant indri Indri indri, the diademed sifaka Propithecus diadema, the common brown lemur Eulemur fulvus, the bamboo lemur Hapalemur griseus and the woolly lemur Avahi laniger. Despite our effort to look for reptiles and amphibians, we only found flat-tailed geckos during the surveys. This is probably due to the fact that our fieldwork happened during the cold and wet period of the year. Challengingly, we also observed lemur traps, holes from illegal gold mining, forest degraded from slash-and-burn agriculture. Our presence in the field temporarily stopped these illegal and destructive activities. However, risk is high that these continued after we left.
Our next steps?
We are currently entering the data from the field that will be analyzed then written up as a report and shared with all stakeholders including the local communities. Subsequent visits are also necessary to assess variations on lemur detectability and habitat use across seasons, while increasing the control efforts within Mangabe new protected area. Regarding the illegal activities, the local communities and our Community and Conservation team are working in the field to minimize the risks. Support from the local authorities will be requested if illegal activities are increasing.