Author(s): Qumr E, Champeau J, Besolo A, Rasolondraibe E, Rabarivola C,
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Abstract The golden-crowned sifaka (Propithecus tattersalli) is an endangered lemur species found only in the Daraina region, a very restricted area in north-eastern Madagascar. Its forest habitat is highly fragmented and expected to suffer from significant changes in the near future. The species is poorly known and only one census study, carried out in 2000, has ever been published. It is thus crucial to update the conservation status of the golden-crowned sifaka before major anthropogenic environmental changes take place. Using the line-transect approach, we estimated the species density in the main forest fragments located in both the peripheral and central parts of the distribution range, including both protected and unprotected areas. In parallel, we tried to determine whether an edge effect could be detected by comparing densities at different distances from the forest edges. We found important variation of sifaka densities among forest fragments. The total species abundance is thus difficult to determine, but we estimated that it is likely to be over 18,000, two to three times higher than previously thought. However, our data also suggested that most P. tattersalli live in forests located in the central part of the distribution range and that the estimated densities in the central part were high (>80 individuals/km(2)). Two forest fragments, found to host a large part of the total population, are currently outside the managed area and their incorporation to the managed area is strongly recommended. Lastly, as expected for a folivorous and not heavily hunted species, our results are consistent with the hypothesis that this species does not experience a clear edge effect, at least during the first half of the dry season. This could be due to a high resiliency to habitat fragmentation or to the fact that fragmentation has been going on for some time. (c) 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
This article was published in Am J Primatol
and referenced in Journal of Primatology