Raising support for unique lemur study

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Isabella Mandi with a baby Sportive Lemur

Sahamalaza Sportive Lemur

20 May 2014

A University of Bristol PhD student is aiming to raise money to undertake the first ever long-term study of one of the rarest lemurs in the world - the Sahamalaza Sportive Lemur.

Isabella Mandi’s PhD research aims to explore the life and ecology of the Sportive Lemurs which are so rare they have been labelled as critically endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Their population has declined as a result of their natural habitat in Madagascar being destroyed by deforestation and hunting.  But to protect the remaining lemurs, more research needs to be done to better understand their needs and ensure that correct conservation measures are put in place.

Sportive Lemurs are nocturnal, and unlike other nocturnal species of lemur, they seem to be rather anti-social, living in solitude.

Isabella undertook a three month study of the lemurs last year, and this longer-term study will build on that preliminary research, looking at their social system including mating, social bonds and territorial behaviour. 

To do this, Isabella needs to electronically tag the lemurs.  As they are nocturnal and live in the forest, it would be impossible for her to find and safely track them without these GPS collars.

The lemurs are small animals, around 600g, so specific lightweight collars with a long battery life are required.

To raise the money needed for the collars, Isabella is fundraising on a site called experiment.com which supports academic research through crowd-funding.  This is usually only for US-based researchers, but they have allowed a European researcher to run a campaign.

Isabella has 55 days to hit her target.  If she doesn’t achieve it by 13 July, she doesn’t get any of the money pledged.  This is because the site is dedicated to quality research and it asks researchers to clearly define a minimum budget needed to carry out their experiments.

News Source : Raising support for unique lemur study
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