|Categories||Habitats, Mammals, Primates|
|Date||24 Oct 2018|
Golden-crowned sifakas are critically endangered lemurs endemic to the Daraina region of northeastern Madagascar. The 2,000km2 region encompasses a unique biogeographical transition zone from Madagascar’s northern and western dry deciduous forests to southern humid forests. Currently, information regarding the ecological role and habitat needs of the golden-crowned sifaka is greatly lacking. My project will address the knowledge gap concerning golden-crowned sifaka habitat structure, resources within their various habitat types, and how anthropogenic disturbances impact their behavior and health. The ultimate goal of this research is to collaborate with Malagasy NGOs, local members of the Daraina community, primary and secondary schools in Daraina, and students at the University of Antananarivo to conduct an assessment of behavior, physiology, and habitat structure of golden-crowned sifakas. This will be used to aid in the establishment of a replicable, long-term monitoring and conservation program in the Loky-Manambato protected area.
Three specific objectives will be used to achieve this goal, while providing information that is currently lacking for the critically endangered golden-crowned sifaka.
1) Use novel tracking technology to determine if golden-crowned sifakas shift their social and spatial behavior in fragmented habitats.
2) Identify whether social grouping patterns and habitat type influence fecal glucocorticoid metabolites (stress levels) in golden-crowned sifakas.
3) Determine habitat structure, food availability, and model land cover of golden-crowned sifaka territories in the Daraina region.
Connecting golden-crowned sifaka spatial behavior to their physiological responses can help us understand the impacts of land management practices. Through understanding their stress responses, we can determine the degree of fragmentation golden-crowned sifakas can handle before declines in their physiological health occur. Knowledge of this threshold will allow us to focus restoration efforts and forest protection in appropriate habitat types and locations.
In addition to the research focus of this project, I am partnering with Madagascar National Parks (MNP) to implement an Eco-Schools Program in northern Madagascar. The program focuses on introducing local children to the incredible biodiversity in their backyards, creating awareness, action, and accountability concerning environmental sustainability. I am hoping that the Eco-Schools program will be able to improve biodiversity education in the region and connect students with nature in a way that compels them to be stewards of the environment and advocates of sustainability practices in their homes and communities.
Read about Meredith's previous project https://www.rufford.org/projects/meredith_semel or for more information contact: