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Project Microcebus

Conducted extensive scientific research, supported by strengthening local conservation and community engagement, to enhance the long-term survival prospects of a newly described species of Microcebus mouse lemur.

Summary

  • Status: Completesd
  • Period: April 2017 – March 2018
  • Location: Sainte Luce, Anosy region, southeast Madagascar
  • Project partners: Local forest management committees, local community, and organisations involved in conservation in the Sainte Luce area

Why was it important?

Very little is known about the nocturnal lemur species of Sainte Luce. At the time Project Microcebus was developed, the species of mouse lemur had not been confirmed, so there was an urgent need for more research. This has now been formally described as the Anosy mouse lemur (Microcebus tanosi).

The research carried out during Project Microcebus supported the classification, and our research into population abundance and distribution also supported the species to gain an IUCN Red List Status of Endangered in 2020. This is significant for conservation in the area, as it represents an opportunity to safeguard one of the last remaining forests of its kind, along with its rich and highly endemic fauna and flora.

It is predicted that over the next 60 years a further 80% of the southern littoral forest will be lost.

Temple et al., 2012

The S6 and S7 forest fragments in Sainte Luce are amongst the largest and most intact remaining in the region, however as unprotected areas, they are currently being degraded and diminished without regulation or mitigation policies in place. The data collected by the project, and the recent update to the IUCN Red List, which confirmed the status of all four Sainte Luce lemur species as Endangered, support the protection of these forests.

Project activities

  • Collected data on mouse lemur species distribution and abundance in Sainte Luce
  • Estimated area of occupancy and population size
  • Trapping and genetic analysis of tissue samples to confirm identity
  • Promoted the conservation of the Sainte Luce form of Microcebus mouse lemur and the littoral forest through environmental celebrations in the community
  • Ran education sessions in the highly-popular conservation club run in schools across Sainte Luce