Faunal inventories are essential to understanding distribution patterns, as well as informing and prioritizing conservation actions. Lemurs are charismatic taxa, used not only as umbrella and flagship species but also as predictors of community richness and models of the diversification processes in Madagascar. The Vohimana Reserve is located in the heart of the Ankeniheny-Zahamena corridor, one of Madagascar’s conservation priorities, and hosts a mid-altitude rainforest. The forest has long faced strong anthropogenic disturbances, such as slash-and-burn agriculture, logging, and poaching. Prior to this study no long-term study on the lemur community in Vohimana had been conducted and no updated information was available. We aimed to provide a lemur inventory and a description of threats that could be used by forest managers in order to inform and optimize future conservation plans. Between April and December 2018, we surveyed the forest using line-transect distance sampling. Our results show that Vohimana is home to 11 lemur species, including two critically endangered species (Indri indri and Propithecus diadema).We found no evidence of the presence of the black-and-white ruffed lemur (Varecia variegata), which was once reported to inhabit the forest. The possible disappearance of this species, the low frequency of Lemuridae species observations, and the observation of snares, selective logging, and charcoal production suggest actions and long-term monitoring are urgently needed in order to protect this fragile but strategic ecosystem.
|Published - 2020