Project Zombitse 1996: a Malagasy-Cambridge conservation expedition
Working in collaboration with Malagasy field scientists, the project aimed to facilitate the implementation of WWF's Integrated Conservation Development Plan for the proposed Parc National Zombitse-Vohibasia. The team provided a comparative biological and socio-economic analysis of four sites in/adjacent to the park. In those areas, the team provided a quantitative assessment of conservation significance, identified resource use and human pressures and gave recommendations for future biodiversity and natural resource management. The project justified the proposed boundaries of the park (a forest excluded from the reserve was of little biodiversity significance). Biological inventories censused birds, mammals and herpetofauna. The largest known population of one threatened lemur (Phaner furcifer) was discovered. An assessment of the status and ecology and taxonomy of the threatened park endemic bird Appert's Greenbul, was made. Surveys at three sites outside the park found reports of Appert's Greenbul to be unreliable.
Project update: 13/2/98. Working in collaboration with Malagasy scientists, the project aimed to assess the population status and ecological requirements of the threatened bird species dependent on Madagascar’s Zombitse dry forest ecosystem. The project also aimed to facilitate the implementation of a WWF Integrated Conservation Development Plan for the proposed "Parc National Zombitse-Vohibasia". Carrying out comparative biological and socio-economical research in four sites within and adjacent to the park the team provided a quantitative assessment of conservation significance, resource use and human pressures. Results of biological surveys included 86 bird species identified, 71% of which are endemic to Madagascar and the surrounding islands. 80 species of lemur were recorded including the largest known population of one threatened lemur (Phaner furcifer). Detailed surveys of the park’s endemic bird, Appert’s Greenbull, yielded abundant information on population and ecology aspects of this species. Education components of the project included the establishment of a link between a school at the edge of the park and a school in England bordering the York Dales National Park. The project provided data justifying the proposed boundaries of the park, and WWF aim to use the data and recommendations in their management plans for the area. One Malagasy team member has been accepted on a WWF training programme.