Earthwatch Institute - vacations and travel

Carnivores of Madagascar


from $2,595* per person 13 Days July, August, December
Basic accommodations Exertion level: 3
Operator: Earthwatch Institute 16 people max
  • Mahajanga, madagascar
  • Volunteer Vacations trips
Madagascar’s lemurs are famous the world over, but their rare predator the fosa remains a mystery. One of the most ferocious predators on Earth, the cat-like fosa is actually a large relative of the civets. Seven of the eight civet-like carnivores that stalk Madagascar's forests are found nowhere else in the world. The habits and population status of many civets are virtually unknown. Dr Luke Dollar and Rahajanirina Léon Pierrot, working with veterinarian Dr Julie Pomerantz, are monitoring carnivore populations in these remarkable forests. Their research – and your help – comes in the nick of time, as deforestation and hunting threatens many of these unique mammals and their habitats.

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1 testimonial about the provider, Earthwatch Institute:

  • Reviewer: located in St. Louis, MO USA
    Elephant conservation is what drives my travel destinations. However, I always come home counting the blessings of new friends and an understanding of a culture and way of life I possibly would otherwise have never been introduced to. Through the Earthwatch projects I participate in, I am learning just how big and wonderful this world is.

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Up before the sun, you’ll experience the forests of Madagascar to reach the research areas, often hiking more than 20 kilometers a day. Throughout your expedition, you’ll rotate among a variety of tasks essential to the project’s success. You'll learn how to set fosa traps and use radio-tracking transmitters and receivers, be trained to check trap lines in the early morning and late afternoon, and may help measure trapped and sedated carnivores. You’ll have a chance to spot Madagascar’s many lemur species. Midday is often free for informal lectures or hikes through the fosa's forest home. Your evenings may be spent at local village festivities or sharing stories with members of the nearby women's cooperative.

You’ll stay at a tented research station with showers and toilets in Ankarafantsika National Park, Mahajanga Province, in the northwest part of Madagascar’s main island. Staff cooks will prepare local fare, based on rice and beans, topped off occasionally with exquisite, locally produced chocolates.

You’ll be based at Ampijoroa Research Station in Ankarafantsika, Mahajanga Province. The Station serves the 333,592-acre Ankarafantsika Protected Areas Complex, one of the last and largest tracts of dry deciduous forest in Madagascar. The area has more than 20 kilometers of well-marked trails that traverse through tall baobob trees, stands of precious woods such as palisandre, and many species of terrestrial and epiphytic orchids. Ankarafantsika boasts seven lemur species, including the acrobatic conquerel’s sifaka, the rare mongoose lemur, and the nocturnal woolly, sportive, and mouse lemurs. A variety of bird, reptile and amphibian species also inhabit the area.

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