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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.


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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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Trade and conservation of Madagascar's chameleons
Madagasikara Voakajy is involved in a project funded by the Darwin Initiative to improve the conservation of threatened chameleons and the develop sustainable use of other common and abundant chameleons.

This project is led by the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology, with Madagasikara Voakajy as principle partners, in addition to the Malagasy government, IUCN, Conservation International and the Department of Animal Biology at the University of Antananarivo.

Broadly, this project is developing capacity and resources for the CITES Scienitifc and Management Authorities in Madagascar to provide strong scientific justification for commercial export of chameleons. This part of the project focuses on the application  of scientific information to evaluate whether individual chameleon species can be collected from the wild without harming the overall population. In support of this, we are also conducting scientifc resarch on the ecology, density and habitat use of priority chameleon species. This work has been ongoing since 2006 and we have already published a number of our results:

Habitat use of chameleons in a deciduous forest

Identifying important areas for the conservation of dwarf chameleons

Population assessments of montane chameleons

In addition to supporting the sustainable and legal trade of some chameleons, we are also working to conserve and protect the most threatened chameleon species from extinction. This involves working with local communities, government and protected area management to reduce, where it exists, destruction of key chameleon habitat and any illegal collection for the pet trade.

We also have a strong tradition in training Malagasy students in chameleon biology and conservation and we are currently supporting five students, two from the University of Toliara and three from the University of Antananarivo.

This project is currently supported by:

Darwin DICE iucn DBA Calumma Logo Toliara