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Since the late 1980s, AEECL has implemented or financed a number of different research projects, mainly on the cytogenetics, taxonomy and distribution of lemur genera such as Hapalemur, Lepilemur, and Propithecus. The Sahamalaza region has been in AEECL’s focus of scientific and conservation interest since 1988.

During the course of 2004 a field station and a scientific working group have been established by scientists of AEECL and the Universities of Antananarivo and Mahajanga in the Ankarafa forest, situated within the Sahamalaza - Iles Radama National Park. There still remain large gaps in the knowledge we have about the blue-eyed black lemur. Together, the zoos united in AEECL are aiming to fill some of these gaps, especially concerning population and social dynamics, habitat utilisation, nutritional ecology, and veterinary issues, to be able to develop comprehensive conservation and management plans for this and other Critically Endangered lemur species. The first three long-term research projects, namely on the nutritional ecology, socioecology and parasitic status of the blue-eyed black lemur, have been carried out in Ankarafa within the framework of AEECL’s Programme Sahamalaza. Our research work moreover increases public awareness for the forest ecosystem in the region and facilitates long-term conservation and research efforts for the lemurs and their habitat.
Other species that have been subject to studies and/or census work in Sahamalaza during the last years were the newly discovered Sahamalaza sportive lemur (Lepilemur sahamalazaensis) and the northern giant mouse lemur (Mirza zaza) as well as different bird species.

Our research in Sahamalaza and elsewhere in Madagascar aims at increasing the scientific understanding of endangered lemurs through the study of impacts of habitat degradation and fragmentation on their ecology and behaviour. Moreover, the speciation and distribution areas of different lemur taxa are investigated in order to be able to assign a conservation status to those species and to implement effective conservation measures.
We are also conducting research on captive lemurs in the AEECL member zoos, aimed at optimising animal welfare and breeding success of the lemur species in our care.

Studies conducted in Sahamalaza since 1999:
Year Study Topic Researcher(s)
1999 Study on the population density of Eulemur macaco flavifrons in the Radama Peninsula [FR] Rakotondratsima Marius
1999 Inventory of the flora and study on the forest formation in the Radama Peninsula [FR] Ralimana Hélène and Ranaivojaona Rolland
2000 The hydrogeological assets of Sahamalaza [FR] Rakotojoelimaria Rindra
2000 A preliminary socio-economical study in the Sahamalaza peninsula [FR] Samby and Bevoavy
2002 A preliminary study of the bush pig population and analysis of the problems they cause in the Sahamalaza peninsula [FR] Andrianjakarivelo Vonjy
2002 Census of amphibians, reptiles and insectivores of the Sahamalaza peninsula [FR] Andreone F., Randrianirina J., Vences M.
2002 Study of the mitochondrial DNA sequence variability of E. macaco flavifrons populations [FR] Jean-Luc Fausser
2003 Inventory with a view to define the dispersion area and the distribution of the E. macaco flavifrons [FR] Randriatahina Guy Hermas
2003 Study of the genetic variability of E. macaco flavifrons using microsatellites [FR] Jean-Luc Fausser
2004 Inventory of sportive lemur populations in the Ankarafa forest, Sahamalaza. [FR] Mathias Craul and Gillian Olivieri
2004 Contribution to the bio-ecological study of the Eulemur macaco flavifrons populations in forest fragments in the Sahamalaza peninsula [FR] Volampeno Sylviane
2004 Rapid assessment of the Eulemur macaco flavifrons population outside the Sahamalaza peninsula [FR] Andrianjakarivelo Vonjy
2004-2006 Habitat use, activity patterns and a study of parasites and their transmission modes in theEulemur macaco flavifrons [FR] Nora Schwitzer
2004-2006 Nutrition and the spatio-temporal distribution of food in the Eulemur macaco flavifrons [FR] Christoph Schwitzer
2004-2008 Study on the social organisation of E. m. flavifrons groups in the Ankarafa forest [FR] Randriatahina Guy Hermas
2005 Dietary behaviour of the Eulemur macaco flavifrons [FR] Randrianarisoa Aimée Lucienne
2005 Diurnal activity of Eulemur macaco flavifrons [FR] Tyann Marsh
2006 Contribution to the knowledge of the sacred ibis of Madagascar Threskiornis bernieri inSahamalaza [FR] Andrianarimisa
2006 Cytogenetic and molecular study of sportive lemurs in the Sahamalaza peninsula: discovery of a new species L. sahamalazensis [FR] Andriaholinirina Nicole et al.
2007 Population density and habitat use of Lepilemur sahamalazensis [EN] Felicia Ruperti and Rabesandrasana Paul Miki
2008 Habitat preferences of Lepilemur sahamalazensis [EN] Felicia Ruperti
2008 Participatory mapping of the Ankarafa Forest [EN] Jamie Smith and James Thorn
Ongoing Study of Eulemur macaco flavifrons: social development in youngsters, maternal behaviour, estimation of the population density and description of their habitat [FR] Volampeno Sylviane