Aspinall Foundation

Antananarivo, Madagascar

Aspinall Foundation

Antananarivo, Madagascar
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Rakotonirina L.,Aspinall Foundation | Rajaonson A.,Aspinall Foundation | Ratolojanahary T.,Association Mitsinjo andasibe | Rafalimandimby J.,Association Mitsinjo andasibe | And 8 more authors.
Folia Primatologica | Year: 2011

To improve our knowledge of the distribution of the critically endangered greater bamboo lemur Prolemur simus, we surveyed 6 sites in eastern Madagascar. We found its characteristic feeding signs at 5 sites and made a direct sighting at one of these. One site represents a northern extension of 45 km of the known extant range of the species. Two sites are located in a forest corridor approximately halfway between the previously known southern and northern populations, therefore suggesting a broadly continuous distribution of the species within its range rather than the previously suspected distribution of two distinct populations separated by a distance of over 200 km. Our results illustrate the benefit of species-focussed surveys in determining the true distribution of endangered species, a realistic measure which is necessary in order to assess their current status and to prioritise long-term conservation interventions. © 2011 S. Karger AG, Basel.

Rakotonirina L.H.F.,Aspinall Foundation | Randriantsara F.,Groupe dEtude et de Recherche sur les Primates de Madagascar GERP | Rakotoarisoa A.H.,Groupe dEtude et de Recherche sur les Primates de Madagascar GERP | Rakotondrabe R.,Groupe dEtude et de Recherche sur les Primates de Madagascar GERP | And 3 more authors.
Primate Conservation | Year: 2014

To help inform conservation efforts for the Endangered crowned sifaka Propithecus coronatus, in 2010, we attempted to better define the known distribution of sifakas in western central Madagascar through field surveys of 17 sites we considered likely to fall in or close to the historic range of P. coronatus. We observed P. coronatus at seven sites, in the Boeny, Betsiboka and Bongolava regions. At three sites at the intersection of the regions of Bongolava, Melaky and Menabe we observed populations containing sifaka of P. deckenii appearance mixed with melanistic individuals. We observed P. verreauxi at the two most southerly sites, in the Amoron'i Mania Region, and P. coquereli at one north-easterly site in the Betsiboka Region, a southern extension of 90 km to the known range of the species. At the four remaining sites, sifaka appeared to be either absent or extinct. We observed two other lemur species, Eulemur mongoz in the Boeny Region, and E. rufus in the Betsiboka Region, the latter observation being a small extension to the species' known range. We noted variation in pelage coloration amongst the P. coronatus individuals we observed, mainly regarding the extent and tone of the rufous wash on the back, arms and legs, but also in the color of the head, and the presence or absence of dark patches on the nape or at the root of the tail. The melanistic forms of P. deckenii varied greatly, some being very dark brown on large areas of the head, back, arms and legs, and appearing unlike any typical sifaka species, others exhibiting an intermediate coloration fairly similar to P. coronatus. We therefore suggest that P. coronatus should not be considered to represent an extreme melanistic form of P. deckenii, and that most previous reports of possible sympatry between the two taxa might alternatively be explained by a melanistic tendency in P. deckenii, possibly arising from occasional gene flow from P. coronatus. Our results show that P. coronatus may now be considered widely distributed through western central Madagascar, but most forests in this area are small and fragmented, and sifaka populations are highly endangered. We therefore recommend the implementation of immediate conservation interventions to ensure the maintenance of the full range of chromatic and genetic diversity of P. coronatus.

King T.,Aspinall Foundation | Rakotonirina L.H.F.,Aspinall Foundation | Rakotoarisoa A.H.,Groupe dEtude et de Recherche sur les Primates de Madagascar GERP | Razafindramanana J.,Groupe dEtude et de Recherche sur les Primates de Madagascar GERP | Ratsimbazafy J.,Groupe dEtude et de Recherche sur les Primates de Madagascar GERP
Primate Conservation | Year: 2014

From mid-November to late December 2011, we surveyed 12 sites in nine communes in and around the south-western part of the range of the Endangered crowned sifaka Propithecus coronatus in western Madagascar. We observed sifaka appearing to be P. coronatus at four sites in the Menabe Region; at three of them several of the sifaka were melanistic. Decken's sifaka P. deckenii were recorded at three sites, and Verreaux's sifaka P. verreauxi at one site. We found no evidence of sifakas between the Tsiribihina and Manambolo rivers west of latitude about 45°E, and local people claimed they have never existed there. We therefore recommend that the forests in this area be excluded from the current distribution range of P. coronatus. We found no sifakas resembling P. deckenii in the melanistic P. coronatus groups, which appears to confirm the hypothesis that most previous reports of possible sympatry between these two species can be better explained by melanism in P. deckenii. The typical individuals of P. coronatus we report showed lightly or heavily washed rufous coloration on the forearms and upper back. The melanistic forms we describe can be categorized as either a "very dark" form, characterized by dark brown to blackish coloration on the forearms and upper back, or as an "intermediate" form, showing dull rufous or light brown forearms and upper back. In reality there appeared to be a continuum in chromatic variation from the typically colored individuals, through the intermediate melanistic form, to the very dark form. These melanistic sifakas appear similar to the darker melanistic forms of P. deckenii north of the Manombolo River, rather than to the melanistic forms of P. coronatus reported to the south-east of our survey sites, or to melanistic forms of P. verreauxi south of the Tsiribihina River. Ancient gene-flow between sifaka taxa may be one of the causes of these melanistic tendencies, but we recommend further research to clarify the situation. These newly reported populations are at a high risk of local extinction. Containing melanistic forms not found elsewhere, we propose that they should be considered of considerable conservation importance with regard to preserving unique chromatic variation, and probably also genetic diversity, in P. coronatus.

Rakotonirina L.H.F.,British Petroleum | Rakotonirina L.H.F.,Aspinall Foundation | Rajaonson A.,British Petroleum | Rajaonson A.,Aspinall Foundation | And 6 more authors.
Primate Conservation | Year: 2013

The Vondrozo-Midongy rainforest corridor in south-eastern Madagascar is an example of a habitat corridor between otherwise disconnected protected areas, and is therefore considered important for the conservation of the endemic biodiversity of the island. Through several years of collaboration with local communities surrounding this corridor, WWF-Madagascar learned that members of some of these communities claimed the existence there of the black-and-white ruffed lemur (Varecia variegata) and the greater bamboo lemur (Prolemur simus), both regarded as Critically Endangered by the IUCN and not known by the scientific community to be present in the corridor. We therefore surveyed six sites in three communes in May 2010 to confirm this information. We made direct observations of Varecia variegata at two sites, which represent a southern extension to the known range of the species. We also found the characteristic feeding remains of Prolemur simus in the three most southerly sites, observations which also represent a major southern extension of the known range of this species. However, the feeding signs we found were old, at least a year old by our estimations, so we recommend further research to ascertain whether the population still exists there. The corridor is threatened by many anthropogenic pressures, and further reinforcement of the conservation program for the corridor is therefore likely to be necessary to ensure the viability of endangered lemurs in the region, and the role of the corridor in ensuring biological connectivity between the more substantial forests to the south and north.

King T.,Aspinall Foundation | Dallimer M.,University of Sheffield
Mammalia | Year: 2010

We present the results of the first survey of the fruit bats of the Lesio-Louna Reserve in the Republic of Congo, an area representative of the larger Bateke Plateau region of the country. Mist-netting was conducted in 2002 during four seasonal sampling periods: late wet season, early dry season, late dry season and early wet season. Five species were recorded. Two were frequently trapped, Micropteropus pusillus (n=102 individuals) and Epomops franqueti (n=57). The remaining three were captured only occasionally, Myonycteris torquata (n=5), Hypsignathus monstrosus (n=2) and Megaloglossus woermanni (n=2). In agreement with studies of other fauna, our results confirm that the Bateke Plateau supports species associated with both forest and savanna habitats. However, species typical of forested habitats were also netted in forest edge and neighbouring savanna, suggesting that these species utilise surrounding habitat within the forest-savanna mosaic characteristic of the study area. We found statistically significant seasonal variation in juvenile body mass and forearm length in E. franqueti and in adult female nipple length in M. pusillus, suggesting breeding seasonality in both these species in the reserve. © 2010 by Walter de Gruyter.

King T.,Aspinall Foundation | Chamberlan C.,Aspinall Foundation | Courage A.,Aspinall Foundation
ORYX | Year: 2014

The use of population modelling has become an increasingly common tool in reintroduction planning and assessment. Although initial reintroduction success is often measured by quantifying post-release survival and reproduction, longer-term success is best assessed through measurements of population viability. Here we develop a population model capable of providing useful results for influencing management of a reintroduction programme for a long-lived and slow-reproducing primate, the western lowland gorilla Gorilla gorilla gorilla. We used post-release monitoring data from two reintroduced populations in the Batéké Plateau region of Congo and Gabon, complemented with published data on wild and captive populations, to develop a population model using Vortex. Sensitivity testing illustrated that the model was highly sensitive to changes in the input parameters for annual birth rates, the number of lethal equivalents, and for female annual mortality rates, especially for adults. The results of the population viability analysis suggested that the reintroduced gorilla populations have a reasonable chance of persistence (> 90% over 200 years) but illustrated that reinforcement of the populations could significantly improve probabilities of population persistence and retention of genetic diversity. Equally, catastrophic events could have significant negative impacts. Continued monitoring of the populations should allow refinement of the model, improving confidence in its predictions and its relevance to decision-making. © Fauna & Flora International 2013.

Hayman D.T.S.,UK Institute of Zoology | King T.,Aspinall Foundation | Cameron K.,Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project Inc. | Cameron K.,Wildlife Conservation Society
Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine | Year: 2010

This brief communication describes the successful treatment of acute systemic anaphylaxis in a wild-born but captive infant western lowland gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) in the Republic of Congo. The infant demonstrated signs of acute respiratory distress, lingual swelling, and reaction to intradermal tuberculin, given 55 hr earlier. Details of the treatment with steroids, anesthetic induction, and i.v. epinephrine are all reported, and potential antigens that may have initiated the anaphylactic shock are discussed. Copyright 2010 by American Association of Zoo Veterinarians.

PubMed | Aspinall Foundation, Willows Veterinary Center and Referral service and Cytopath Ltd
Type: | Journal: Veterinary ophthalmology | Year: 2017

A 17-year-old female western lowland gorilla presented with bilateral ocular discharge, conjunctivitis, and rhinitis that was investigated and treated over a 34-month period. Clinical findings, diagnostic results, treatment, and follow-up are described.A mild intermittent mucoid ocular discharge was initially noted. 10 months later, conjunctival hyperemia and thickening developed and progressed rapidly to a mass-like lesion covering the right eye. Hematology revealed eosinophilia. Conjunctival cytology revealed eosinophils and neutrophils, and histopathology revealed a chronic proliferative eosinophilic conjunctivitis. 21 months after, the ocular lesions were investigated the gorilla developed masses within both external nares. Histopathology of the nasal lesions revealed chronic-active eosinophilic rhinitis.Treatment of the gorilla was based on protocols recommended for human patients. Protocols for mild, moderate, and finally severe disease were used, involving topical and oral combinations of treatments. The gorilla eventually responded to systemic immunosuppressant therapy recommended for severe refractory disease.To the authors knowledge, this is the first reported case of vernal-like conjunctivitis in a western lowland gorilla.

Flohic G.L.,Aspinall Foundation | Motsch P.,Center International Of Recherches Medicales Of Franceville | DeNys H.,Aspinall Foundation | Childs S.,Aspinall Foundation | And 2 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2015

Rehabilitation of animals followed by reintroduction into the wild can benefit conservation by supplementing depleted wild populations or reintroducing a species in an area where it has been extirpated or become extinct. The western lowland gorilla (WLG, Gorilla g. gorilla ) is persistently poached; infants are often illegally traded and used as pets. Some are confiscated and rehabilitated, then kept in sanctuaries or reintroduced into the wild. Prior to reintroduction, the ability of the orphans to survive independently in their environment needs to be assessed. Here, we performed a multivariate analysis, including diet composition, activity-budget, and pattern of strata using of a group of five juvenile WLG in the process of rehabilitation and distinguished three sub-periods of ecological significance: the high furgivory period, the Dialium fruits consumption period, and the high folivory period. The consequences of these variations on their well-being (play behaviour) and the group cohesion (spatial proximity and social interactions) were examined. Like wild WLGs, diets shifted seasonally from frugivorous to folivorous, while the same staple foods were consumed and large amounts of Dialium fruits were seasonally gathered high in trees. When succulent fruit intake was the highest, thus providing high energy from sugar, juveniles spent less time feeding, more time playing and group cohesion was the highest. Conversely, the cohesion decreased with increasing folivory, individuals spent more time feeding and less time playing together. Nonetheless, the group cohesion also decreased after the death of one highly social, wild-born orphan. This may underscore the importance of skilled individuals in the cohesion and well-being of the entire group and, ultimately, to rehabilitation success. This study evaluates the rehabilitation success with regards to the methods used and highlights the need to consider a set of individual and environmental factors for enhancing rehabilitation while preserving the local biodiversity and individual well-being. © 2015 Le Flohic et al.

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