Groupe detude et de recherche sur les Primates de Madagascar GERP

Antananarivo, Madagascar

Groupe detude et de recherche sur les Primates de Madagascar GERP

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.

PubMed | Malagasy Biologist Association, Michigan State University, University of Nebraska - Lincoln and Groupe dEtude et de Recherche sur les Primates de Madagascar GERP
Type: Journal Article | Journal: PloS one | Year: 2016

Environmental insecurity is a source and outcome of biodiversity declines and social conflict. One challenge to scaling insecurity reduction policies is that empirical evidence about local attitudes is overwhelmingly missing. We set three objectives: determine how local people rank risk associated with different sources of environmental insecurity; assess perceptions of environmental insecurity, biodiversity exploitation, myths of nature and risk management preferences; and explore relationships between perceptions and biodiversity exploitation. We conducted interviews (N = 88) with residents of Madagascars Torotorofotsy Protected Area, 2014. Risk perceptions had a moderate effect on perceptions of environmental insecurity. We found no effects of environmental insecurity on biodiversity exploitation. Results offer one if not the first exploration of local perceptions of illegal biodiversity exploitation and environmental security. Local peoples perception of risk seriousness associated with illegal biodiversity exploitation such as lemur hunting (low overall) may not reflect perceptions of policy-makers (considered to be high). Discord is a key entry point for attention.

Ravaloharimanitra M.,The Aspinall Foundation | Ratolojanahary T.,Mitsinjo | Rafalimandimby J.,Mitsinjo | Rajaonson A.,The Aspinall Foundation | And 11 more authors.
International Journal of Primatology | Year: 2011

Greater bamboo lemurs (Prolemur simus) are endemic to Madagascar and are the only recognized species within their genus. The IUCN lists the species as critically endangered, with very few confirmed distribution records and <200 individuals known in the wild. With the aim of contributing to its conservation, we attempted to find previously unknown sites containing the species. Working closely with local communities, and basing our methodology on the gathering of local knowledge, we surveyed 44 sites in and around the Ankeniheny-Zahamena Corridor. We found evidence of the presence of Prolemur simus at 18 sites. We made direct sightings at 6 sites, of a total of 65 confirmed individuals, and identified their characteristic feeding remains at the other sites. Twelve of the sites are located in midaltitude rain forest within the corridor, and 6 lie in isolated and degraded lowland areas outside the corridor. These discoveries more than double the number of sites where the species is known to occur, and extend its known range 85 km further north. We identified numerous threats to the newly discovered sites, including hunting pressure, habitat destruction, habitat disturbance, and habitat fragmentation. Demographic factors related to small population sizes and population isolation may also impact the viability of the populations. Our results illustrate the benefits of systematic gathering of local knowledge when searching for rare or secretive primates. © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.

Radespiel U.,University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover | Ratsimbazafy J.H.,Groupe detude et de recherche sur les Primates de Madagascar GERP | Ratsimbazafy J.H.,British Petroleum | Rasoloharijaona S.,Groupe detude et de recherche sur les Primates de Madagascar GERP | And 10 more authors.
Primates | Year: 2012

The factors that limit the distribution of the highly diverse lemur fauna of Madagascar are still debated. We visited an understudied region of eastern Madagascar, a lowland rainforest site (Sahafina, 29-230 m a. s. l.) close to the Mantadia National Park, in order to conduct a survey and collect further distributional data on mouse lemurs. We captured, measured, photographed, and sampled mouse lemurs from the Sahafina forest, performed standard phylogenetic methods based on three mitochondrial DNA genes, and conducted morphometric comparisons in order to clarify their phylogenetic position and taxonomic status. The mouse lemurs from the Sahafina forest could not be assigned to any of the known mouse lemur species and were highly divergent in all molecular analyses from all previously described species. Since they also differed morphometrically from their sister species and from their geographic neighbors, we propose species status and include a species description at the end. This study suggests that M. lehilahytsara may be the first highland specialist among all mouse lemurs. The distribution of the newly described mouse lemur is not fully known, but seems to be rather restricted and highly fragmented, which raises serious conservation concerns. © 2011 Japan Monkey Centre and Springer.

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.

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