NOV- DEC 2014
Arbor Day Foundation Newsletter
In the island nation of Madagascar, Rain Forest Rescue has been supporting an effort to reverse the destruction of forest habitat that is home to animals like the Black-and-white ruffed lemur, a species listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as “critically endangered” and found nowhere else on earth.
Under a unique program initiated by Dr. Edward E. Louis Jr. of the Omaha Henry Doorly Zo...o and Aquarium, corridors of trees are being planted to restore habitat for the lemurs and other animals that depend on the rain forest. And thanks to donations of Arbor Day Foundation members, more than 250,000 trees will be planted this year.
Dr. Louis’ team is employing a local women’s club to weed in the nurseries, prepare compost and transplant seedlings into the areas of reforestation. This group, known in the native language of Madagascar as Vehivavy Vonona, or ‘The Ready Women,’ is helping to fight poverty and transform entire communities. These women are taking leadership roles and making a real difference in their communities and on the forest landscape in their region.
It is efforts like those of Dr. Louis and his team, with donations from Arbor Day Foundation members, that hold the key to the future of lemurs and other wild inhabitants of Madagascar’s forests—and the people who share this land.
Click on the picture below to read more!
After some time tracking, the MBP's graduate student, Malalatiana, and the MBP carnivore team trapped their first fossa. They secured a female which was named "Scar" and a male named "Jack the Ripper". They appear to be a young adults. Malalataina and the team were able to get ATS collar on them and finished with all their work before the fossa woke up. Scar and Jack recovered quickly. Fortunately, the team was ready with welding gloves and got them back into their cages without anyone being bitten. The fossa were released after they had the proper amount of time to fully recover. This is the first time the MBP will be tracking and keeping record of the carnivores habits! Malalatiana plans to use this information for her upcoming presentation.
2014 MBP Student Presentations
Student presentations at the MBP office wrapped up at the end of September. In total, twelve students shared their research with the office staff and visiting international volunteers. Thanks to Mme. Rakouth and Mme. Brigitte, two student advisors from the University of Antananarivo, who also came out to support these early career scientists.
The students presented in front of a full house including their advisors, MBP staff and visiting volunteers.
We were lucky enough to learn about a variety of subjects such as the elusive aye aye from Nico, the diminutive mouse lemurs from Seheno, using drones to monitor landscape change and estimate biomass from Sitraka, and the ecology of greater bamboo lemurs and black and white ruffed lemurs from Mirana and Voahangy, respectively. Bruno is also working on black and white ruffed lemurs doing censuses throughout Madagascar and Daniel described his transect methodologies. Ony and Volana taught us about their reforestation work in the semi-arid spiny and humid evergreen forests in a tag-team presentation, and Tovoniaina explained how he will continue some of these efforts as he prepares to for his fieldwork in Andasibe.
Thanks to all of our students for sharing with us their progress. Also, congrats to Christophe for defending his doctoral dissertation and all the best to Sylviane who will be defending her work at the end of this month. We can still look forward to a few more presentations as additional students take their breaks from remote field locations and return to the office to submit their reports. That means you Larissa, Eugénie and Malala!
We are pleased to announce MBP's graduate student, Christophe, completed his presentation and received his doctorate
on September 30, 2014. His Jury attributed to him a "Mention Très Honorable Avec Félicitation du Jury", one of the highest honors.
Through the representing MBP team, Christophe passed along his full recognition and gratitude to Dr. Louis,
the MBP field team, and staff for the materials, financial and technical support provide for his to achieve his goal.
Christophe, Thank you for your hard work and determination!
Good Luck in all your future endeavors.
The newest addition to the MBP Aye-aye family has a name! It's Rikarlo!
This name comes from a combination of the Aye-aye teams' names - Richard, Kaway, Richard kely, and Laude. This little guy ws born to Tsinjo in Torotorofotsy. He is about one month old now. Congratulations to Tsinjo on her beautiful baby boy and to the dedication and hard work of the MBP Aye-aye team!
The 25th Congress of the International Primatological Society
OHDZA-MBP's Dr. Louis, Dr. Lei, Dr. Frasier and Consrvation Fusion's Susie McGuire all presented over the course of this week. Congratulations to everyone on a job well done!
MBP's 1st Aquaponic System in Andavakoera, Madagascar
Aquaponics is a food production system that combines conventional aquaculture (raising aquatic animals such as a variety fish or shrimp in tanks) with hydroponics (cultivating plants in... water) in a close and interactive environment. It is the MBP’s quest to introduce additional sustainable food production methods to the community of Andavakoera in Antsiranana.
As of September 2013, though a partnership with Whispering Roots, an Omaha-based nonprofit that specializes in Aquaponics, we constructed and tested a pilot aquaponic system in the genetics' lab where we tried to mirror the concepts that we were hoping to build in Madagascar. This test system allowed us to learn the process hands-on as well evaluate vegetative and fish productivity in the system for deployment in Madagascar.
In June of 2014, the MBP began building the first system. Shannon, OHDZA-MBP's office manager and aquaponics expert, was there to assist with the building and setting up of the system. She was also able to pass on some of the knowlege we have gained from genetics' lab model.
New Work Boots With the generous support of the Ahmanson Foundation's grant, the MBP worked to provide new field supplies to our MBP employees, we worked with Canfield's Sporting Goods to purchase new Keen boots, socks and leather protector.
for the MBP Field Teams!
After shipping and customs, the boots were finally delivered. It was a big success! Thanks to the help of Canfield's.
We are excited to pass along some pictures of the boots being passed out to the MBP teams in Kianjavato, Andasibe, and Torotorofotsy. All the teams love their new boots. The Andasibe team is used to wearing boots and instantly felt how the new boots fit so much better. At Torotorofotsy, the team was used to being barefoot or wearing flip flops, so the boots felt very different for them. But they were so happy, jumping up and down and dancing, laughing like little kids as they tested out their new footwear. At the Kianjavato Ahmanson Field Station (KAFS), the boots were handed out by Ed during the KAFS 5 year Anniversary Celebration. He proudly wore his Canfield's T-shirt! Everyone was very excited.
All the teams took the boot protection very seriously and put on cream right away. In one picture you will see Dezy, the site coordinator in Andasibe and Torotorofotsy, is actually putting on his boots standing on his flip flops because he didn't want to get his new boots dirty.
Thanks again to the Ahmanson Foundation and Canfield's!
The MBP is pleased to announce that our Malagasy graduate students recently completed ArcGIS training at the MBP office in Tana. Great job everyone! We look forward to seeing your new mapping abilities :-)
MBP celebrates World Environment Day in Andasibe
Published Monday, June 9, 2014 at 12:30 PM
Local officals and speakers for the event.
The MBP was pleased to be involved at the celebration for World Environment Day at Andasibe, Madagascar. The MBP initiated the Analamazaotra Re-introduction/Translocation Project (ART Project) in the Andasibe region by re-establishing the Diademed sifaka and Black-and-white ruffed lemur back into their historical habitat range within Analamazaotra Special Reserve. The festivities were led by local community leaders, who spoke about Eco-theology, climate change, and slash-and-burn agriculture.
The MBP's Technical Director, Tovo, presented information about rocket stoves and briquette production, and endangered species. It was a big hit. The local community leaders were especially impressed and grateful for the MBP's "Conservation Credit Program", where local reforestation participants earn credits for planting trees to purchase solar panels and rocket stoves.
Among other topics, great interest was expressed about the dire situation of the northern sportive lemur with only 17 individuals remaining. The audience was also excited that MBP is active in radiated tortoise protection, and is assisting with the most recent confiscation of 968 individuals.
Photos courtesy of MBP's Technical Director, Tovo
By Carol Bicak - staff writer
Published Tuesday, April 29, 2014 at 1:00 am / Updated at 1:53 am
Click on picture above to be directed to the article!
The MBP is teaming up with the Arbor Day Foundation
with a pledge to plant a quarter-million trees
in the coming year in a bid to help the endangered lemur.
Pictures of the Press conference held at the Expedition Madagascar Building(15 photos)
HOT OFF THE PRESS RELEASE!
THE ARBOR DAY FOUNDATION IS PARTNERING WITH THE MBP TO PLANT 250,000 TREES IN THE FORESTS OF MADAGASCAR EVERY YEAR!
If you are in the Omaha area, keep you eyes open for the press release that was held today at the Madagascar Exhibit on channel 6 WOWT and Channel 7 KETV News at 6PM and 10PM.
Happy Earth Day!
Click on picture above to go the Arbor Day Foundations website to read about it!
Celebrate Earth Day, Every Day!
Madagascar Biodiversity Partnership
Malagasy Grad Student Completes DEA
On March 20, 2014, the Madagascar Biodiversity Partnership's General Director and Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium's Department Chair of Conservation Genetics, Dr. Edward Louis, Jr. was present as the external reporter at Mr. James Sedera Solofondranohatra thesis defense entitled “Ecoethologied’une Femelle de Daubentonia madagascariensis dans la Forêt de Kianjavato, Sud-Est de Madagascar. " His degree, which is similar to a masters, is from the faculty of sciences at the Université d’Antananarivo, Départémente dePaleontologie et d’Anthropologie Biologique, with a specialization in Primatology.
With support from Omaha's Zoo Foundation, Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, the San Diego Zoo, and the MBP, Sedera has conducted an excellent research effort on one of the most difficult lemurs or even mammals to study, given that this species has enormous home territories and daily home ranges, are strictly nocturnal, and extremely intelligent at avoidance behavior. His study was conducted for a total of 11 months, primarily in the forest of Kianjavato, part of the FOFIFA Kianjavato, and the Sangasanga Mountain.
Sedera's research is the first comprehensive continuous investigation of an individual free-ranging Aye-aye on the island of Madagascar, which follows up on the pinnacle study by Dr. Eleanor Sterling in 1991 on Nosy Mangabe.
During this time, Sedera worked out of MBP's Kianjavato Ahmanson Field Station monitoring food preferences, habitat use and territory of a female Aye-aye named “Bozy” which included a period of time in which she had a male offspring named “Mena”. The results of his study have redefined what scientists understand about this enigmatic species including diet preferences in a lowland forest, territorial home range (many times larger than was documented by Dr. sterling's findings that reported 30-50 hectares for female Aye-aye), reliance on major tree species for food resources, higher use of bamboo for insect resources, use of the upper canopy for food and dispersal, and activity budgets centered primarily on feeding (80%).
Sedera presented his results orally at the International Prosimian Congress meeting at Ranomafana National Parc at the Centre ValBio. His preliminary reports were instrumental in changing the IUCN red data list status from Near Threatened to Endangered at the IUCN red data meeting in Antananarivo.Sedera's efforts will certainly continue to impact and improve the species status and draw interests to further study and protect this singular lemur from Madagascar.
WELCOME TO THE
New Paper Released!
26 March 2014
Congratulations to all of the authors and organizations that supported the publication just released, "Population genetics implications for the conservation of the Philippine crocodile Crocodylus mindorensis Schmidt, 1935 (Crocodylia: Crocodylidae)".
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia, Crocodylus mindorensis by Gregg Yan
MBP Personnel showing off new quads and helmets :o)
We will be using these Quads to get around the nurseries and planting sites more efficiently!
With MBP's Conservation
Credit Rewards Program
The MBP has started a new incentive program for the local people and schools who participate in tree-planting day events. For every tree planted by a participant, the MBP gives them credits to be accumulated to earn sustainable, green, life-changing tools like Tough Stuff Solar Kits and Hippo Rollers to Bicycles. On this trip to Kianjavato, Dr. Louis and his team along with help from a graduate student at UNO have instituted Picture IDs and a program to scan these IDs to keep track of every credit earned and every tree planted! Look out world. Here comes the MBP!
Click on picture to see more!
Photos by MBP Volunteer, Hilary
Science Magazine Research Publication FEB 2014
Averting Lemur Extinctions
amid Madagascar's Political Crisis
Click on photos to be directed to Science
Photos courtsey of Dr. Edward E. Louis Jr.
The island nation of Madagascar is well known for it rich diversity of plants and animals and more famously for its lemurs.These primates, however, are the most threatened mammal group on the planet, with 94% of the 101 species of lemurs being in danger of becoming extinct.Poverty, political instability, slash-and-burn agriculture, mining, illegal logging, and an increase in bush meat trade are all factors jeopardizing the survival of these animals.
However, conservationists have not given up and have released a new three year emergency conservation action plan, which is highlighted in the well known journal, Science. One of the authors of this article is OHDZA and MBP's own conservation genetics researcher, Dr. Edward Louis, Jr. Along with thirteen other experts, Louis, put together a plan that identifies 30 important lemur forests for preservation. Each site has an individual strategized plan incorporating local needs but they all have in common the need for community managed protected areas, sustaining and expanding the presence oflong-term research, and promoting and expanding ecotourism.
One of the critical lemur sites listed in the plan is the Kianjavato Classified Forest, located in the south eastern part of the country. Acting on behalf of Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium and the Madagascar Biodiversity Partnership, Louis and his team have diligently been working at this site for several years conducting research and implementing community involved conservation projects.The project Louis is most proud of is the reforestation effort he initiated which has resulted in 78,000 native trees being planted back into the landscape. Louis’ efforts have created,and will continue to create, additional habitat for the critically endangered black-and-white ruffed lemur and the greater bamboo lemur that live in this forest.
To support this crucial conservation action plan to save Madagascar’s lemurs, a total of $7.6 million will need to be raised. Funds are sought from every level from governments to foundations to individuals. Scientists, including Dr. Louis, are optimistic and say that if implemented such a plan could prevent the extinction of any lemur species inthe next decade and provide the framework for long-term conservation success.
International Journal of Primatology
Research Publication Feb 2014
Earlier this month Dr. Louis was a co-authored on research publication for The International Journal of Primatology titled "Opsin Genes and Visual Ecology in a Nocturnal Folivorous Lemur". This cute little Betsileo Woolly lemur (Avahi betsileo) made the cover. The adorable photo was taken by our very own Dr. Edward E. Louis Jr.
Click on pictures upbove to be directed to International Journal of Primatology