Primatologist to lead Madagascar expedition

Toronto-based primatologist-explorer Travis Steffens has been sorting gear for a five-person expedition
in Madagascar. Steffens, the executive director of Planet Madagascar,
a non-profit organization, will lead a 220-kilometre conservation-oriented
trek around Ankarafantsika National Park starting June 28. 

He will fly into the island-country in about one
week to make final preparations. Over fifteen days on the ground, the
team will hike through rough country along the perimeter of Ankarafantsika
National Park. This is a flag expedition under the auspices of
the Explorers’ Club. 

Steffens, who did his PhD research in the park, and who
is incidentally my son-in-law (full disclosure), says he is “very excited
to find some lemurs.” The trek will “provide baseline information on
species occurrence,” he says, and ascertain local perceptions of
forest loss with a view to informing decision making. It will also
increase awareness about conservation around the park.

Steffens hopes to introduce Planet Madagascar to people
in the most remote communities – to provide information on fire management
and share practices that Planet Madagascar has implemented in
other areas of the park. 

“We will be setting up a way to follow along,” Steffens
says. “So stay tuned.”

The expedition is funded by Primate Conservation Inc.,
Lemur Conservation Action Fund (SOS – Save Our Species) and
conservationist Duane Sharman. Two of the five team members are Malagasy
residents and employees of Planet Madagascar Association. 

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