The IUCN SSC Primate Specialist Group Madagascar Section is a network of scientists and conservationists who stand against the tide of extinction which threatens humanity's closest kin.
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Updates from the IUCN SSC Primate Specialist Group Madagascar Section!
Quarterly newsletter: Volume 1

Dear Friends,

We're excited to launch the first quarterly newsletter for the Madagascar Section of the IUCN SSC Primate Specialist Group. This newsletter will serve as a way to increase communication and collaboration among PSG members and to highlight opportunities in lemur conservation. Specifically, this newsletter will highlight funding and networking opportunities while also summarizing recent news coverage and peer-reviewed papers on lemurs and their conservation. Newsletters will be sent out via email and also made available publicly on the Lemur Conservation Network website.

In the last year, lemurs - and their conservation - have been increasingly in the spotlight at the global scale. This includes coverage in major media outlets on an almost weekly basis and the influx of funding from large grant opportunities like the SOS Lemurs fund. This is an important time to continue our important work in lemur conservation and we hope that this newsletter helps, in some small way, in highlighting your contributions to the effort.

We welcome your additions to this newsletter, including announcements that you would like to share with the PSG about your lemur and Madagascar-related work. Contributions to the newsletter can be sent to the group's Regional Vice Chairs, the new IUCN PSG Madagascar Program Officer (Dr. Sylviane Volampeno) or to Kim Reuter (

Thanks and best of luck with your ongoing work!

Regional Vice Chairs for IUCN PSG Madagascar
Christoph Schwitzer
Jonah Ratsimbazafy

Program Officer for IUCN PSG Madagascar
Dr. Sylviane Volampeno

Volunteer Newsletter Writer for IUCN PSG Madagascar
Kim Reuter

New IUCN Primate Specialist Group Madagascar Programme Officer
I am pleased to announce that we have recently hired Dr Sylviane Volampeno as the new IUCN Primate Specialist Group Madagascar Programme Officer. Sylviane is a Malagasy primatologist. She earned her PhD in 2010 from the University of KwaZulu Natal in South Africa. Her PhD research focused on the Critically Endangered blue-eyed black lemur. Since then she has worked in various capacities on the conservation of Madagascar’s biodiversity. Sylviane is the founder and current president of the Madagascar-based conservation association "Mikajy Natiora". She is also a part-time lecturer at the Department of Animal Biology, Faculty of Sciences, of the University of Antananarivo. She is involved in the implementation of conservation projects for endemic biodiversity, especially threatened lemur species. Her areas of interest include primate conservation, biological research, local community development and education. Sylviane is a member of Malagasy Primate Group GERP. In her capacity as PSG Madagascar Programme Officer she will help with conservation projects based on the IUCN Lemur Conservation Strategy that are funded by the SOS Lemur Fund and play a major role in updating the next version of the Lemur Conservation Strategy (2017–2019).
Sylviane is employed by Bristol Zoological Society on behalf of the PSG Madagascar Section and will be based in Tana. You can contact her at
Christoph Schwitzer
PSG Co-Vice Chair for Madagascar
Call for contributions!
The deadline for contributing articles to Volume 20 of the Lemur News is June 30th! Lemur News publishes manuscripts that deal largely or exclusively with lemurs and their habitat. The aims of the newsletter are to provide a forum for exchange of information about all aspects of lemur biology and conservation, and to alert interested people to particular threats to lemurs as they arise.

Lemur News welcomes the results of original research, field surveys, advances in field and laboratory techniques, book reviews, and informal status reports from research, conservation and management programs with lemurs in Madagascar and around the world. 

Funding Opportunities
EDGE Fellows: The ZSL EDGE Fellowship program provides structured training to early-career conservation biologists to undertake an applied research or conservation project on a local EDGE species.

The EDGE Fellowship programme is more than just a source of funding. In addition to receiving a grant of up to £10,000, EDGE Fellows attend two regional training courses; undertake online modules in relevant topics; and receive one-to-one support from a scientific advisor based at ZSL or a partner organization. This year's EDGE Fellowship applications are due on June 15th and there is a particular interest in funding Malagasy individuals.

Lemurs in the News
- Three new species of mouse lemur found in Madagascar as part of a collaborative research project involving several PSG members.

- PSG members Marni LaFleur and Kim Reuter discuss the implications of the viral video of a (likely) former pet lemur in Madagascar ( and Huffington Post) that has been watched millions of times across the world.

- Duke Lemur Center publishes study on lemur hibernation may hold promise for understanding for how hibernation and aging are linked.

- Lemur Conservation Network interviews PSG advisor Christoph Schwitzer in two part interview about how he got into lemur conservation and what he sees as the biggest challenges (Part 1 and Part 2).

- CNN features PSG advisor Jonah Ratsimbazafy in a lengthy feature regarding his work on lemur conservation in Madagascar.

- Two studies published on lemur hunting; one focusing on the drivers of lemur hunting in rural Madagascar and the other focusing on the urban commodity chain of bushmeat
Lemurs + Science
There have been some great studies published on lemurs this year to date, including a new family tree for lemurs published in Herrera & Davalos (2016) in Systematic Biology as well as an entire issue of the International Journal of Primatology dedicated to the Eulemur genus!

Other papers of note include an examination of how the extinction of 17 species of large lemur in the past few thousand years has effectively 'orphaned' several fruiting tree species (Federman et al. 2016 in PNAS).

For bamboo lemurs, we now have more insight into their sleeping site selection and latrine behavior while for Sifakas, we now have a better understanding of: the call usage and acoustic structure of Propithecus diadema; the social structure of Propithecus verreauxiinter-group fighting in P. verreauxiinfant transport and mother-infant contact in P. coquereli; and the distribution of P. candidus.

On the dietary end of the spectrum, papers have been published examining the nutritional consequences of folivory in small-bodied Lepilemur as well as on the impact of deadwood structural properties and Aye-Aye foraging. Somewhat relatedly, a study has been published on the gastrointestinal parasites of captive and free-living lemurs and domestic carnivores in eastern Madagascar.

Finally, a great new book on the dwarf and mouse lemurs of Madagascar, is now available online (edited by Shawn Lehman, Ute Radespiel, and Elke Zimmerman)!
Upcoming Events
The joint meeting of the International Primatological Society and the American Society of Primatologists is taking place August 21-27, 2016 in Chicago (USA). Advance, online registration ends on August 1st 2016. The Lemur Conservation Network is hosting a happy hour and networking event on Thursday, August 25th from 7-10pm as a side event to this conference. Location to be determined; more information can be found on the Lemur Conservation Network Facebook page! All are welcome!
Copyright © 2016 Primate Specialist Group Madagascar Section, All rights reserved.

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