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Project Phelsuma

Project Phelsuma conducts vital research on the critically endangered day gecko, Phelsuma Antanosy in order to contribute to international knowledge and conservation priorities.


  • Status: Completed
  • Date: January 2014 – December 2015
  • Target population: Community of Sainte Luce
  • Location: Sainte Luce, Anosy region, southeast Madagascar
  • Project partners: Local forest management committees; other organisations involved in phelsuma conservation

Why is it important?

There aren’t many places you can see the Phelsuma antanosy day gecko, in fact there aren’t many places you can see most of the plants and animals found in the forests of Sainte Luce – 80% of them are unique to the area. Worryingly, rapid deforestation is putting many species at risk of extinction, including the critically endangered day gecko Phelsuma antanosy, which is found in only a handful of forests in southeast Madagascar; including the Sainte Luce littoral forest where SEED Madagascar is conducting vital research on the species. Some of the fragments where the gecko is found may also be deforested for mining activities in the future.

Less than 10,000 individuals are estimated to remain, and these remaining geckos are threatened by ongoing deforestation and proposed mining activities in the region

IUCN, 2014

Crucially, very little is known about P. antanosy. We need to collect and share information about what it eats, where it likes to live, what it needs to survive, if we are to prevent this gecko from going extinct.

A phelsuma antanosy gecko on a leaf

What are we doing

Phelsuma antanosy is one of the exotic species that our team of researchers and short-term SEED Conservation Research Program (SCRP) volunteers are collecting data on. By studying its behaviour and environmental conditions, this data could be used to start a captive breeding population or even to move populations in parts of the forest due to be mined to other, protected areas, thus ensuring their continued survival.

SCRP staff and volunteers also conduct environmental education sessions in Sainte Luce schools and run a highly-popular Saturday conservation club to raise awareness of local threats to the P. antanosy, and highlight the importance of this gecko that can’t be found anywhere else in the world. By training local guides, we are also hoping to further spread this knowledge amongst the community so that they are able to identify, monitor and tackle threats to the survival of P. antanosy.


Principal donors to the project include: Columbus Zoo and Minnesota Zoo.