To safeguard these species, this paper highlights methods such as trade monitoring and community engagement which can in turn inform national planning and trigger interventions needed to reduce that rate of habitat loss and limit threats to these species. However, it is not all doom and gloom; so far no studies have reported Malagasy reptile extinctions, and all known species in the wild have been documented in recent years. However, this highlights the vital need for such protected areas to be implemented and enforced, as threats still exist in protected sites and much can be improved within such sites.
What we know: research from the field These investigations have even led to the first record found of the Petter's Chameleon Furcifer petteri on Nosy Be Island in Northwest Madagascar. It was discovered that the species has a very low population density on the island and is either rare or absent from areas with high levels of human disturbance or deforestation. It is classified as ‘vulnerable' to extinction and reveals even more so the diversity in Madagascan species and the increasing need for areas to be protected and protocols to be reinforced.
The long term baseline studies carried out by Frontier Madagascar cover a range of different habitat types: primary, secondary, disturbed secondary and degraded forests. Active search surveys are carried out along transects for an hour at a time and each reptile encountered is recorded. Each microhabitat at each forest level is explored as well as leaf litter, whilst taking into consideration the minimalist approach not to damage the environment. Any species that can't be identified are photographed and then identified back at the research camp. The Frontier team also conduct regular satellite camps in new areas to further categorize the diversity and abundance of Madagascar's reptiles and to provide information on their conservation status.
(Photo: Frontier's Madagascar Wildlife Conservation Adventure)