As a collaboration between Madagasikara Voakajy, King’s College London, Bangor University, University of Antananarivo, The Royal Geographical Society and the P4GES project, our research team set out on the 4th of June for 2.5 weeks of fieldwork in Mangabe. We visited multiple sites in the region to measure water infiltration rates, study vegetation density, and carry out an accuracy assessment to verify our land use change maps. We were specifically looking to find out what effects land use change has on local hydrology and ecology.
A recent field trip to the Mangabe-Ranomena-Sasarotra New Protected Area has returned new information on a Critically endangered lizard – Pronk’s day gecko. It has a flattened cream body with black and yellow stripes. It turns out this colour pattern give the gecko perfect camouflage for dead trees. Perhaps it is no surprise that of the 21 Pronk’s day geckos that we found over the three weeks of searching - all of them were on dead trees. We searched in many different habitat types including closed canopy forest, Lantana shrub and woodland. We were surprised to find Pronk’s day gecko not only in the forest but also in distrubed grassy areas where dead trees were present. Some of the areas where we found the highest abundance of geckos had many dead trees but hardly any live ones and this may present a problem for the future of the gecko population, because a range of tree life stages are needed to be able to continually replace the dead trees on which Pronk’s day gecko were found. We are heading back to the field shortly to examine the habitat of Pronk’s day gecko in more detail.
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