Master's student, Virginia Tech
Location: Makira National Park, Madagascar
Research: Carnivore population and community ecology in Makira, Madagascar, with an emphasis on the apex predator, the fossa (Cryptoprocta ferox)
Species/Topic: Fossa, fanaloka, falanouc, ring-tailed vontsira, broad-striped vontsira, and brown-tailed vontsira
Abstract: Long-term research in developing countries positively benefits local conservation by deterring poaching and by employing local people. Virginia Tech is conducting the first long-term study on carnivore ecology in Makira National Park in northeastern Madagascar (MNP). MNP likely holds one of only three viable eastern populations of Madagascar's endemic apex predator, the fossa (Cryptoprocta ferox). To aid in the conservation of this unique ecosystem and predator, we will estimate fossa density and species richness of other detectable carnivore and non-carnivore taxa, using camera trap surveys and line transects at three intact and four fragmented forest sites. Our work will result in robust fossa abundance estimates in MNP that will serve as a foundation for population viability analyses. We will collaborate with the Wildlife Conservation Society to develop a conservation plan for all MNP carnivores, including information on the co-occurrence of these carnivores with lemurs and other taxa of interest.