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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).

More Publications >>
(and publication request form)
Madagascar flying fox (Pteropus rufus)


Pteropus rufus is the largest flying fox found on the island of Madagascar. It is a prodigous fruit eater and provides an important ecological service as a seed disper. This bat roosts in small areas of forest in colonies that can contain over 5,000 individuals. Deforestation is reducing the available roosting and feeding sites for this bat and and in many parts of the island it is killed and eaten by people. This bat is considered to be vulnerable to extinction on the IUCN Red List, but in Madagascar it is a game species and can be legally hunted.


This species is under severe pressure from people; it's roosting sites are being cleared as agriculture encroaches into new areas. Also, it is one of the species most frequently eaten by people in the west, and provides for both the subsistence and commercial demands.

Conservation of this species is beneficial to Malagasy people and ecosystems. Its forest roost sites provide important ecological services that support livelihoods. Furthermore, the bats themselves as long-distance transporters of pollen and seeds contribute to forest regeneration. Even the hunting, if it could be managed appropriately, could benefit local communities.

We focus our conservation efforts on roosting sites because this is where the bats congregate daily in large numbers. We have developed a community-based approach that relies on the participation of local people, the provision of education resources and a desire to conserve more than just the bats! This work is implemented by our community program and is currently focussed in three different regions of Madagascar.

More information

For additional information about the ecology and conservation of this species please see some of our publications:

Madagascar Flying Fox in a fragmented landscape.

Pteropus rufus in south- eastern Madagascar