Updated lemur species ranges in Madagascar’s Corridor Forestier d’Ambositra Vondrozo (COFAV)
Madagascar’s high rates of endemism, paired with its escalating deforestation rates, has made it one of the most important conservation priorities on the planet. In southeastern Madagascar, the Corridor Forestier d'Ambositra Vondrozo (COFAV) is an unprotected rainforest corridor that sustains ~15 species of lemurs, most of which are endangered. The COFAV connects many protected areas and is therefore essential for gene flow, dispersal, and the long-term sustainability of animal populations in the area. The corridor has not been surveyed extensively since the 90’s, and even so, only a fraction of the sites have been sampled multiple times. The goal of our study was to survey the COFAV, from Ranomafana National Park to the Mananara River, to provide updated species occurrences and ranges. Combining data across multiple teams using different inventorying methods, we surveyed a total area of 227km2 throughout an eight-month period. We recorded every lemur occurrence (sighting or vocalization) and noted the species, date, time, group size, and GPS coordinates. We found 11 lemur species and one putative hybrid species. The geographic ranges for three species (Hapalemur aureus, H. griseus, Propithecus edwardsi) were larger than previously thought. The range of Varecia variegata should be shortened and adjusted accordingly, as the species appears transient (at best) in the northern parts of Ranomafana National Park and was not found south of the Ambohimahamasina/Ikongo region. This study provides updated geographic ranges for lemur species in the COFAV, important information for future censuses, species assessments, and conservation measures for future implementation.