My first expedition

June 16, 2015

I returned Saturday from my first field expedition down near the Mangevo village, which is located close to the southeastern portion of Ranomafana National Park. The trip to Mangevo was long, starting with a 30 minute car ride to Morafeno and then a 5 hour hike out to the village. The hike led me across rolling hills and gave me a stunning view of the landscape in the area, although it was sad to see the results of tavy (slash and burn agriculture) throughout the entire trip particularly the burnt remains of trees and a highly fragmented landscape. Once we reached the village we had help setting up camp from the locals who were incredibly welcoming. We asked them about any fragments that might be a good place to look for Varecia and the following day headed to two of the sites they suggested. Unfortunately we were not able to find any Varecia in the locations we checked during out time near Mangevo, which is enlightening but also is leading me to change my project slightly in order to adapt to the conditions here. I am also sadden to know that there are no longer Varecia in the fragments down there as they have been heard in the fragments in the past. Another unfortunate result of the trip was that my toe became infected (due to a blister opening up and continually walking on it/ walking barefoot across a river to get to a site) which now inhibits me from going out into the field until it heals. For now I am at CVB trying to occupy my time with planning out the rest of the summer/ working on writing my thesis while my guide (Justin) and Malagasy student (Dimby) head out to into the park to try and collect some samples. I am hoping my toe will heal soon so I can get out there with them as I’d much rather be tracking lemurs than sitting around!

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