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Monitoring and conservation of the Critically Endangered Alaotran gentle lemur Hapalemur alaotrensis

Author(s): Gurutzeta Guillera-ArroitaI | José J. Lahoz-Monfort | E. J. Milner-Gulland | Richard P. Young | Emily Nicholson

Journal: Madagascar Conservation & Development
ISSN 1662-2510

Volume: 5;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 103;
Date: 2010;
Original page

Keywords: Bandro | Habitat suitability | Habitat fragmentation | Imperfect detection | Maxent | Modélisation de l’habitat | Fragmentation | Détection imparfaite

The Alaotran gentle lemur Hapalemur alaotrensis is a Critically Endangered lemur, which exclusively inhabits the marshes around Lac Alaotra in northeast Madagascar. In the past decades the population of H. alaotrensis has experienced a dramatic decline due to poaching, habitat destruction and degradation. Surveys have been carried out periodically to follow the status of the population. Here we present the results of a survey carried out between May and June 2008 in the southwestern part of the marshes around Alaotra and discuss the key findings derived from the analysis of the data collected. Our study indicates that the probability of detecting the species in an area where it is present is very low and depends on factors that vary in space and time. These results stress the need to account for imperfect detection when monitoring this species, an issue especially relevant when reporting population trends. Our analyses also show that habitat fragmentation is a key determinant of habitat suitability for H. alaotrensis, with fragmented areas of marsh showing low suitability. Finally, our observations and analysis suggest that the protection provided by the local community to H. alaotrensis in Andreba is contributing to the conservation of this Critically Endangered species. This highlights the need to continue working on engaging the local communities in the conservation of the marshes at Lac Alaotra as a critical element to secure the future of H. alaotrensis.
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