Lemurs in Cacao: Presence and Abundance within the Shade Plantations of Northern Madagascar.
Webber, A. D., Solofondranohatra, J. S., Razafindramoana, S., Fernández, D., Parker, C. A., Steer, M., ... & Allainguillaume, J.
The recognition that much biodiversity exists outside protected areas is driving research to understand how animals survive in anthropogenic landscapes. In Madagascar, cacao (Theobroma cacao) is grown under a mix of native and exotic shade trees, and this study sought to understand whether lemurs were present in these agroecosystems. Between November 2016 and March 2017, discussions with farmers, nocturnal reconnaissance surveys and camera traps were used to confirm the presence of lemurs in the Cokafa and Mangabe plantations near Ambanja, north-west Madagascar. Four species of lemur were encountered in nocturnal surveys: Mirza zaza, Phaner parienti, Microcebussp. and Cheirogaleussp. with encounter rates of 1.2, 0.4, 0.4 and 0.3 individuals/km, respectively. The presence of Lepilemur dorsalis was confirmed by camera trap. This is the first time lemurs have been studied in cacao plantations, and understanding how these threatened animals use anthropogenic landscapes is vital for their conservation.