Help fund research in aye-aye conservation. They are unique primates and once they become extinct, we will lose an entire branch of the Primate evolutionary tree.
Lead the way in conservation biology. You could be at the forefront of conservation science, as we work with new research methods like ZIMS (Zoological Information Management System) breeding records, to halt the devastating human effects on aye-aye populations and conserving the fauna in Madagascar’s forests. Aye-ayes are persecuted by people who see them as an omen of death and are affected by human-mediated habitat loss and habitat fragmentation for agriculture. People are killing aye ayes but we can be the cure to conserve this flagship species of Madagascan wildlife! Connect with nature and help conserve the aye-aye - please consider supporting our research.
The COIVD-19 pandemic has highlighted our loss of respect for the natural world. Wildlife struggles more than ever as resources are relocated. Lemurs are the most endangered group of mammals in the world and rely on ecotourism to support their conservation, which the pandemic has badly affected, requiring donations from elsewhere. Human wellbeing will only ever be as good as the wellbeing of our environment and our animals. This project will continue its conservation work despite the pandemic and work in Madagascar will be continued when it is safe to do so. Help rebalance the relationship between humans and nature by giving to the aye-aye.
Who am I?
I am a student who started my PhD in April 2019. I have a BSc in Ecology and Environmental Biology from Imperial College London and an MSc in Applied Zoo Biology from Sparsholt University Centre. The combination of these two degrees forms an excellent balance of knowledge in traditional academia and applied work, which has fuelled my effort in looking at both captive and wild populations of animals in order to achieve successful species conservation.
I am collaborating with the Madagascar Biodiversity Partnership, a Malagasy NGO set up by Dr. Edward Louis Jr. The organisation works to preserve Malagasy wildlife through reforestation programmes, lemur research and community outreach initiatives. I will be living and conducting research at the Kianjavato Field Station, located in southeast Madagascar. It covers an area of 5,000 hectares of unprotected forest that is becoming increasingly fragmented and depleted, requiring conservation measures to be put in place to protect the forest and the species living within it.
To preserve Madagascar’s extraordinary and unique wildlife by focusing on conserving aye-ayes in captivity. This will be achieved by using data from captive settings through the use of ZIMS (Zoological Information Management System) and tracking the behaviour of aye-ayes across the Malagasy forest at night using camera traps. If we understand an animal’s behaviour, we can conserve its species one individual at a time. We will then be able to build husbandry and breeding guidelines to inform welfare and breeding pairings. We also expect the research to help inform other aspects of conservation, such as wildlife management, in creating nature reserves by understanding species movements and activity needs. Understanding behaviour can also be used to track and assess aye-ayes. Knowing aye-aye calls, signals and behavioural patterns can help to locate aye-ayes more easily, which can help future ecological surveys and population density estimates.
The Anthropocene’s effect on aye-ayes ranges from deforestation to direct persecution. In reality, this curious primate reminds us how amazing and unlikely nature can be. They are a versatile species that inhabit several areas of Madagascar, with large territorial ranges. Due to their diverse choice in habitat, their ranges encompass other species of lemur’s habitat who are also severely threatened by deforestation and hunting for bush meat. 73% of all lemur species are listed as either endangered or critically endangered, making lemurs the most threatened group of mammals in the world. For example, at the Kianjavato Field Station, eight other species of lemur inhabit similar areas to that of the aye-aye, including two critically endangered species: the black-and-white ruffed lemur and the greater bamboo lemur. By working towards the preservation of aye-ayes and their habitat, the aye-aye can serve as an umbrella species to preserve the others that exist in the same area.
What the money will go towards
The money raised will fund the start-up of this research project. While on the ground in Madagascar, money will fund purchase and testing of camera traps and will allow me to visit aye-aye habitat. Costs will include accommodation, flights, food, salaries for local guides, camping equipment, documentation costs and research equipment such as camera traps. £1,500 will allow me to lead my pilot study, while £18,000 will allow me to fully fund my trip to Madagascar for both my pilot study and full study over a 6-month period.