Lot II A 103 Nanisana, Antananarivo 101 Madagascar
+261 33 32 552 05


bamboo lemur

Project Fotsife is a go!

In January 2017 fieldwork began for Project Fotsife: a study into the use of timber plantations by the endangered southern woolly lemur (Avahi meridionalis) and other nocturnal species in the Mandena Conservation Zone. The southern woolly lemur, known locally as Fotsife (‘white thigh’), is threatened by deforestation and fragmentation of its habitat. The species, which lives in monogamous pairs, can’t move across the open spaces caused by logging and becomes vulnerable to population isolation. We are investigating whether plantations of native and non-native tree species can be managed in such a way that they not only provide a sustainable supply of fast-growing timber for local people but also provide safe habitat for these lemurs.

In addition to conducting surveys of the forest fragments and reforested portions of the Mandena Conservation Zone, southeast Madagascar, we are conducting behavioral observations of A. meridionalis and using point count surveys to assess their relative abundance within the different forest types. We will also be conducting informal interviews and surveys with the local population as well as protected area managers, to understand local perceptions and attitudes.

H. meridionalis  feeding next to the campsite

H. meridionalis feeding next to the campsite

Along with Avahi, the team have encountered numerous mouse lemurs (Microcebus sp.) and dwarf lemurs (Cheirogaleus sp.) during their nocturnal observations, and a pair of bamboo lemurs (Hapalemur meridionalis) frequently visits the camp to feed in the surrounding forests. The Mandena Conservation Zone is already heavily fragmented, and the forest patches outside of the protected continue to be threatened by selective logging and large-scale forest clearances. We hope that the results of this study will be used to inform future conservation actions, for the protection of the lemurs and other species which depend on these forests, as well as for the benefit of the local human population.