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Dec 1, 2008

Sahamalazemsis Sportive Lemur

Sahamalazemsis Sportive Lemur from Bristol Zoo Gardens

Population Density and Habitat Preferences of the Sahamalaza sportive lemur Lepilemur sahamalazensis - a liitle known lemur species

The study investigated the population density and habitat requirements of the Critically Endangered (CR A4cd; IUCN, 2006) Sahamalaza sportive lemur (Lepilemur sahamalazensis) by means of systematic searches and habitat descriptions in five different habitat types in the vicinity of the Ankarafa Research Station on the Sahamalaza Peninsula, northwest Madagascar.

A plot-based methodology for estimating population density in relation to habitat characteristics was implemented. With the aid of GPS measurements, a map of the research site was created in order to gain an understanding of its structure and to facilitate the creation of semi-random plots.Each of the five plots was one hectare in size and representative of varying degrees of habitat disturbance.

The habitat variables under investigation addressed density of small and large trees, trunk size, tree height, canopy cover, availability of sleeping sites, cyclone damage, livestock use, forest fires, cut trees, erosion, abundance of tree debris, undergrowth, saplings, lianas and fourteen types of food plant.

The population density of L. sahamalazensis was estimated for each plot by means of systematic diurnal counts. An activity budget was compiled to establish whether the study species is truly nocturnal and whether individuals remain in the same place during the day, thereby providing reliable conditions for diurnal population density estimates.

Furthermore, an educational booklet about the Sahamalaza lemurs and the research at Ankarafa was created to facilitate future work of the field guides and to share research findings with the local population.

Developed by:  Bristol Zoo Gardens

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