Long-Term Lemur Research at Centre Valbio, Ranomafana National Park, Madagascar

  • Patricia C. WrightEmail author
  • Elizabeth M. Erhart
  • Stacey Tecot
  • Andrea L. Baden
  • Summer J. Arrigo-Nelson
  • James Herrera
  • Toni Lyn Morelli
  • Marina B. Blanco
  • Anja Deppe
  • Sylvia Atsalis
  • Steig Johnson
  • Felix Ratelolahy
  • Chia Tan
  • Sarah Zohdy


We present findings from 25 years of studying 13 species of sympatric primates at Ranomafana National Park, Madagascar. Long-term studies have revealed that lemur demography at Ranomafana is impacted by climate change, predation from raptors, carnivores, and snakes, as well as habitat disturbance. Breeding is seasonal, and each species (except Eulemur rubriventer) gives birth synchronously to be able to wean before winter. Infant mortality is high (30–70%) and partly due to infanticide in Propithecus edwardsi,and perhaps Varecia variegata. Diurnal lemurs can live beyond 30 years in the wild and most females reproduce until death. Small-bodied Microcebus rufuslive up to 9 years without signs of senescence. Prolemur simusmigrates in search of new bamboo and mates, and related V. variegatamothers park their multiple offspring in “kindergartens,” protected by others while mothers forage. Interference competition among sympatric lemurs occurs. Anthropogenic factors, such as past selective logging and climate change may influence the declining density of E. rufifrons, P. simus, and P. edwardsiwhile not affecting the density of pair-living species.


Mouse Lemur Fruit Availability Lifetime Reproductive Success Habitat Disturbance Disturbed Forest 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This research complied with all the laws of Madagascar and was authorized by Madagascar National Parks (MNP), CAFF/CORE, and the Madagascar Ministry of the Environment. The research was approved by the IACUC animal care committees of all research host institutions. The authors thank Benjamin Andriamihaja and the MICET and ICTE staffs who have expedited the research process and made our long-term work in Madagascar possible. For funding we acknowledge the Wenner-Gren Foundation (PCW), National Geographic Society (PCW), National Science Foundation USA (PCW BCS-0721233, PCW DBI-0829761, PCW DBI-0122357, SAN BCS-0333078, SRT BCS-0424234, EME SBS-0001351, ALB BCS-0725975), Earthwatch Institute (PCW and SAN), Primate Conservation Inc (PCW, SAN, ALB, MBB, AMD, RJ, TLM, SRT), The LSB Leakey Foundation (ALB), Primate Action Fund (PCW, SAN, SRT, ALB), The University of Texas at Austin (SRT), and SUNY-Stony Brook (PCW, SAN, SRT, SJK, ALB), Fulbright Foundation (SAN and ALB), American Society of Primatologists (SRT), PEO Foundation (SRT), AAUW (SRT), Saint Louis Zoo’s FRC Committee (SAN), The University of Helsinki (PCW, SZ). We would also like to acknowledge our many research technicians: Georges Rakotonirina, Raymond Ratsimbazafy, and Remi Rakotovao, Georges René Randrianirina, Paul Rakotonirina, Georges Razafindrakoto, Dominique Razafindraibe, Armand Razafitsiafazato, Bernadette (Menja) Rabaovola, Laurent Randrianasolo, Rasendrinirina Victor, Rakotonirina A. Thierry Emile (Nirina), and Rakotoniaina Jean Félix (Rakoto), Razafindravelo Zafi, Solo Justin, and Telo Albert for their expert assistance following animals and collecting phenological data. Graduate students from the University of Antananarivo: Sahoby Ivy Randriamahaleo, Rakotonirina Laingonianina, Herifito Fidèle, Ralainasolo Fidy, and Andriamaharoa Hubert. P.C. Wright is grateful to Ingrid Daubechies for assistance with the figures and Patricia Paladines for her efforts and editorial assistance.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patricia C. Wright
    • 1
    Email author
  • Elizabeth M. Erhart
    • 2
  • Stacey Tecot
    • 3
  • Andrea L. Baden
    • 4
  • Summer J. Arrigo-Nelson
    • 5
  • James Herrera
    • 4
  • Toni Lyn Morelli
    • 6
  • Marina B. Blanco
    • 7
  • Anja Deppe
    • 4
  • Sylvia Atsalis
    • 8
  • Steig Johnson
    • 9
  • Felix Ratelolahy
    • 10
  • Chia Tan
    • 8
  • Sarah Zohdy
    • 11
  1. 1.Institute for the Conservation of Tropical EnvironmentsStony Brook UniversityStony BrookUSA
  2. 2.Department of AnthropologyTexas State UniversitySan MarcosUSA
  3. 3.School of AnthropologyUniversity of ArizonaTucsonUSA
  4. 4.IDPASStony Brook UniversityStony BrookUSA
  5. 5.Department of Biological and Environmental SciencesUniversity of California in PennsylvaniaCaliforniaUSA
  6. 6.Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, Department of Environmental Sciences, Policy and ManagementU.C. BerkeleyBerkeleyUSA
  7. 7.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of MassachusettsAmherstUSA
  8. 8.San Diego Zoological SocietyThe San Diego Zoo’s Institute for Conservation ResearchSan DiegoUSA
  9. 9.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of CalgaryCalgaryCanada
  10. 10.Wildlife Conservation SocietyAntananarivoMadagascar
  11. 11.University of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland

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