PI Ute Radespiel just visited her team in northwestern Madagascar, where they currently study the mouse lemur and small rodent populations inhabiting the remaining forest fragments of dry deciduous and riverine forest in the Mariarano region.
It is the beginning of the second big field season as part of the INFRAGECO research activities. She found the team well settled under two big mango trees at the edge of a small village of 21 inhabitants next to the river Mariarano.
The team has already trapped and released more than 150 mouse lemurs (Microcebus ravelobensis and M. murinus) and several Eliurus sp. and Rattus sp. in eight sites over the last weeks, two of which in the continuous forest next by.
Alarmingly, the team also encountered multiple human disturbances in the forests, among them tree cutting for charcoal production, selective wood extraction, maciba collection, but also substantial deforestation activities.
The fragments lie outside the protected zone of Mariarano and are therefore very vulnerable to external threats. However, the local villagers were very friendly and welcoming and helped the team with guiding services and provisioning of water and food. The four weeks in this camp site are now already over and the team will now move to the next camp several kilometers away.