To figure out how to best support these two endangered species — black-and-white ruffed lemurs and diademed sifakas — scientists at Washington University in St. Louis are joining up with researchers at the Saint Louis Zoo, Missouri Botanical Garden and Madagascar-based partners for an innovative research effort under the Living Earth Collaborative. Through the Eric P. & Evelyn E. Newman Foundation, Washington University Board of Trustees Chair Andy Newman established the Newman Madagascar Research Fund, which will be critical to the project’s success.
“Having a Madagascar-based team is essential to the project,” said Fidy Rasambainarivo, affiliate scientist with the Saint Louis Zoo Wildcare Institute and its Center for Conservation in Madagascar. The local focus was important even before the COVID-19 pandemic closed borders and made travel more difficult. Now, with input and a project plan set up by the Living Earth Collaborative researchers, members of Rasambainarivo’s team already are following the lemurs in the field: making behavioral notes, mapping ranges and collecting samples.