Interview with one of the famous herpetologist team of Madagasikara voakajy Alain Rakotondrina
Alain is a herpetologist by training but has expanded his focus to lemurs and birds since a training with the Zoological Society of London in 2017. Currently, he is also the focal point for Tsinjoarivo-Ambalaomby protected area creation project and manages Madagasikara Voakajy’s report database.
How did your journey with Madagasikara Voakajy start?
In 2010, I did an internship with Madagasikara Voakajy as a student from the University of Toliary. Then, I did a research project on the gecko Paragehyra gabriellae in Fort-Dauphin to obtain my Diplôme d’Etudes Approfondies degree. I really appreciated the work the Madagasikara Voakajy team did for biodiversity conservation and promised myself that I will join that team once I finish my studies. I got my degree in 2012 and applied to work for MV in 2014 when there was a recruitment for a research assistant in herpetology. This is how it all started.
What do you most appreciate in your job?
One of the most thing that I really appreciate in my job is the field work. I like to be directly in touch with the biodiversity, especially the reptiles and amphibians. For me, it`s an huge opportunity to have the chance to work in the natural habitat of such distinguished endemic species that Madagascar have. They are so diversified in their natural habitat.
Do you have a favorite species
Yes, the day gecko Phelsuma pronki because this species is very rare. Unfortunately it`s critically endangered diurnal species of gecko due to severe habitat loss. This species appears to live mainly on dead trees within rainforest and is endemic to central Madagascar.
What is the biggest challenge in your job
As described earlier, I currently help establishing the Tsinjoarivo-Ambalaomby protected area, a project that Madagasikara Voakajy runs with ONG Sadabe (http://www.sadabe.org/Fr/accueil.html). The whole process of creating a protected area is new to me. In this project, we also have the challenge to convince all community members, leaders and authorities to collaborate in the projected area creation and in the future, management. Running all the meetings and negotiations to achieve this goal is challenging to me.
A message to Madagasikara Voakajy’s partners and followers?
Madagasikara Voakajy and each of its members are dedicated to the conservation of Madagascar’s unique biodiversity. I particularly am concerned with the day gecko, Phelsuma pronki,a critically endangered species found in habitat very restricted area: Mangabe-Ranomena-Sahasarotra Reserve. Your support is important to us and our partners on the ground who are the local communities. Everyone, whatever our position, can help protecting our biodiversity, and are benefiting from its existence. Therefore, let’s keep going in this direction.