Madagascar Conservation & Development

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Taboo adherence and presence of Perrier’s sifaka (Propithecus perrieri) in Andrafiamena forest

Alessio Anania, Jordi Salmona, Emmanuel Rasolondraibe, Fabien Jan, Lounès Chikhi, Claudia Fichtel, Peter M. Kappeler, Rodin Rasoloarison


Habitat loss and poaching are among the most serious threats to the fragile and unique biodiversity of Madagascar. In the past, traditional taboos (fady), commonly associated with folk stories, have had a buffering effect on several lemur species. Here, we examine the status of hunting taboos with reference to the conservation of the critically endangered Perrier's sifaka (Propithecus perrieri). We also provide an update on P. perrieri’s presence in the protected area of Andrafiamena in the face of ongoing habitat fragmentation and poaching. The Andrafiamena forest represents one of the key refuges for this species, which has a very limited and fragmented range in northern Madagascar. We report the results of a 2016 presence/absence survey in Andrafiamena and from interviews on Perrier’s sifaka taboo adherence, conducted in 201 2 across the whole species range. Our results confirm the presence of Perrier’s sifakas in Andrafiamena and that in 201 2, across the species’ range, the hunting taboo was observed by most (>95%) interviewees who answered (N = 23). Forest clearing and a decrease of taboo adherence may intensify the pressure on the already small and fragile population of P. perrieri. A deeper knowledge of the human-wildlife interconnections, as well as regular monitoring of this rare species’ distribution, may be crucial for the success of its conservation.
AJOL African Journals Online