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Podcast: Lemur love and award-winning plant passion in Madagascar

  • We’ve got recordings of indri lemurs and the architect of 11 new protected areas that aim to protect Madagascar’s rich biodiversity of plant life on this episode of the Mongabay Newscast.
  • We’re joined by Jeannie Raharimampionana, a Malagasy botanist who has identified 80 priority areas for conservation of plant life in her country and has already turned 11 of those areas into officially decreed protected areas.
  • We’re also joined by Valeria Torti, who uses bioacoustics to improve conservation of critically endangered indri lemurs in Madagascar’s Maromizaha forest. She plays for us a number of recordings of the primates’ songs.

Madagascar is known for its lemurs, and we’ve got some recordings of Madagascar’s most famous fauna to listen to on this episode of the Mongabay Newscast. But today we’re looking at conservation of the island nation’s fauna and flora.

Listen here:


Protected areas in Madagascar have tended to focus on ecotourism and preserving fauna, especially the lemurs for which Madagascar is most closely identified. Plants haven’t typically been taken into account when designing the country’s protected areas, even though, according to the US-based Missouri Botanical Garden, more than half of all plant species in Madagascar are facing the threat of extinction and many of those species are endemics that are found nowhere else on Earth.

Thanks to Jeannie Raharimampionona, a botanist with the Missouri Botanical Garden who recently won the National Geographic/Buffett Award for Leadership in Conservation in Africa (which also earned her the title of National Geographic Explorer), Madagascar’s rich biodiversity of plant life is finally getting the protections it needs. Raharimampionana joins us to discuss the 11 — but soon to be 12 — protected areas that her work has helped to establish, and her hopes to establish protections for all of the 80 priority areas she has identified.

We also speak with Valeria Torti, a research technician at Italy’s University of Turin whose work is focused on critically endangered indri lemurs (Indri indri) in the protected forests of Madagascar’s Maromizaha region. Torti tells us about the threats indris are facing and plays for us a number of recordings of their calls.

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An indri lemur (Indri indri) in the Analamazaotra Special Reserve, Madagascar. Photo by Charles J Sharp.

Follow Mike Gaworecki on Twitter: @mikeg2001

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