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Thesis title: Lemur-human coexistence: the impact of human activities on the behaviour and demography of cathemeral lemurs in south-eastern Madagascar
Start year: 2017
To conserve endangered species it is crucial that we understand how animals perceive and tolerate people, and the impact of human activities upon their behaviour, populations, and ecology. Hunting by humans is recognised as one of the main threats to lemur survival in Madagascar, but the drivers of hunting and its impact on lemur demography and behaviour have received little scientifc attention.
My research investigates the extent and nature of lemur hunting by people living in rural communities and explores the impact of hunting on lemurid demography and behaviour. My research site is Tsitongambarika Protected Area in south-eastern Madagascar. Using the regionally most hunted lemur species – collared brown lemur Eulemur collaris (Endangered) and southern bamboo lemur Hapalemur meridionalis (Vulnerable) as a model, I will:
I will combine ethnoprimatological and ecological research methods to study lemur hunting from the dual perspectives of lemurs and people sharing the same forest. To understand the drivers and importance of lemur hunting in rural communties, I will conduct interviews and participant observations with people living in villages close to the forest and independent snare surveys. I will survey the abundance and demography of Eulemur collaris and Hapaelmur meridionalis, and carry out behavioural studies to investigate the responses of lemurs to human presence. These variables will be used to model behavioural responses in relation to hunting, demographic, habitat and geographic parameters to identify whether lemurs exhibit behavioural adaptions in areas of high hunting pressure.
My results will contribute to the growing field of ethnoprimatology by elucidating the economic, social and cultural role of lemur hunting for rural communities. They will further understanding of cathemeral lemurs’ capability to adapt to habitat change and survive in anthropogenic habitats. My research will provide tools that can be used to monitor threats and predict pressures from hunting on lemur populations, and evidence-based strategies to reduce hunting pressures that balance human needs and conservation priorities.
Lemur conservation, primate behaviour, ethnoprimatology, hunting, Eulemur, Hapalemur
Primate behaviour, human-wildlife interactions, wildlife conservation, conservation and zoo education, animal husbandry and welfare