Expedition Ankarafantsika: In search of lemurs and forests

I am proud to announce that I will be carrying an Explorers Club flag on an expedition in June/July in NW Madagascar.

The plan:

We will traverse the entire 220 km perimeter of Ankarafantsika National Park, Madagascar on foot. Along the route we will conduct diurnal and nocturnal surveys for lemurs as well as interview local residents in four communities about deforestation on the edge of the park. We will be filming our interviews and the expedition itself so stay tuned for footage from our trip. You can follow along via social media:

www.facebook.com/Travellingprimate & Instagram & Twitter: @Travis_Steffens

www.facebook.com/PlanetMadagascar & Instagram & Twitter @PlanetMada

The Goals:

1. To determine the distribution, relative abundance, and population structure of 8 lemur species across the entire national park;

2. To determine if resident perceptions of forest loss match records from satellite imagery.

3. To collect environmental and non-invasive DNA samples of lemurs to assess the population structure of endangered lemurs across the entire national park.

The Team:

Travis Steffens, PhD

Travis Steffens, PhD is a Lemur Researcher, International Fellow of the Explorers Club, and founding Director of Planet Madagascar. Travis has spent years studying primates in the wild and now focusses his research on the impact of habitat loss on lemur species in Madagascar. He leverages his research results towards applied conservation and community development initiatives through Planet Madagascar, a non-profit dedicated to creating sustainable forest communities in Madagascar. When not doing research or conservation Travis leads group tours to observe primates and other wildlife with Civilized Adventures. As an avid nature lover and photographer Travis gives numerous talks a year about his research, conservation, and travels around the world. 

Megan Aylward, Phd

Megan is an evolutionary biologist, specializing in primate genetics. Megan has over ten years experience conducting research in tropical forest environments including St Lucia, Thailand, and Madagascar. Her research focuses on the effects that changing environments, over both short and long time scales, have had on the movement of animals across the landscape. Megan has worked in Madagascar studying the behaviour and genetics of wild lemurs for over eight years. Her recent research uses genetics to understand how related different populations are and how recent changes to lemur’s forest habitat may affect these populations.

Jesse Hildebrand

Jesse Hildebrand is an experienced science communicator who has worked in digital learning, national event coordination, story producing and science centre facilitation for a decade across a wide variety of institutions and fields. He enjoys adventure travel and physical challenges, from completing Toronto's Triathlon and Mississauga's Marathon to Hiking Kilimanjaro and the mountains of Peru.

Hasina Rabe

Hasina Rabe is a the Conservation Program Manager for Planet Madagascar. RABE is an environmentalist from Antananarivo University. He graduated his Masters in 2014 on the population dynamics of burrowing reptiles in the Ankarafantsika National Park. During his field works, he never misses an opportunity to learn about the customs and ways of life of local residents.

Jean-Paul Soa

Jean-Paul Soa is a Patrol Team Leader for Planet Madagascar’s fire management and lemur monitoring project. He was worked with Planet Madagascar for 5 years. Before that he was a research assistant for a PhD research project. He is a very important part of his community having been voted as the assistant chief for a number of years. He is an expert negotiator and has been instrumental helping Planet Madagascar achieve their goals of building sustainable forest communities.

Sponsors:

Lemur Conservation Action Fund

If you would like like to support our expedition please contact us via email at travis(at)planetmadagascar.org

Eulemur mongoz  — Ankarafantsika National Park

Eulemur mongoz — Ankarafantsika National Park