The Greater Bamboo Lemur Prolemur simus is the largest of Madagascar’s bamboo-eating lemurs and the most critically endangered lemur in Madagascar. For more than a century, it was believed to be extinct in almost all Madagascar, except for a remnant population in the south-east of the island.
In 2004, thanks to the intrepid Jean Rafalimandimby, Mitsinjo excitingly discovered a new population of the Greater Bamboo Lemur in Torotorofotsy, reconfirming that this critically endangered bamboo specialist species still holds on in areas where it had gone unnoticed for so long.
Together with our partner organizations (The Aspinall Foundation, Conservation International, GERP), Mitsinjo designed and conducted methodical surveys into the Ankeniheny-Zahamena forest corridor (that lies to the north of Torotorofotsy) and into the Marolambo-Nosivolo area. With the invaluable help of local people in these areas, results have since yielded evidence for several further populations of this critically endangered lemur scattered throughout these forests.
At the moment, we are also looking into the possible occurrence of the species in places as far away as Tsinjoarivo (with Sadabe) and Makira (with Simpona).
At the same time, Mitsinjo (in collaboration with MBP) radio-collared several animals in Torotorofotsy and, during two years of monitoring, gathered a wealth of data on their behaviour, and ecology that will help design an adequate conservation action plan Prolemur simus. Further research by our para-ecologist team focuses on collecting fecal samples for genetic analyses and on bamboo density necessary for the survival of the species.
The species apparently requires very large home ranges. As a consequence, the Torotorofotsy population of Prolemur simus is not restricted to the Ramsar site of the same but ventures out into areas being encroached by mining. Mitsinjo coordinates with both the Ambatovy nickel mine and the Izouard/Louys graphite mine in order to minimize possible impacts from their respective activities.
Mitsinjo’s committment to saving the Greater Bamboo Lemur has since contributed to the formation of the Prolemur simus Working Group, kindly initiated by the Madagascar Fauna Group.
Mitsinjo’s Partners with Greater Bamboo Lemur research
Rakotonirina, L.; Rajaonson, A.; Ratolojanahary, T.; Rafalimandimby, J.; Fanomezantsoa, P.; Ramahefasoa, B.; Rasolofoharivelo, T.; Ravaloharimanitra, M.; Ratsimbazafy, J.; Dolch, R.; King, T. (2011). New distributional records and conservation implications for the critically endangered greater bamboo lemur Prolemur simus. Folia Primatologia 82 (2): 118-129.
Ravaloharimanitra, M.; Ratolojanahary, T.; Rafalimandimby, J.; Rajaonson, A.; Rakotonirina, L.; Rasolofoharivelo, T.; Ndriamiary, J. N.; Andriambololona, J.; Nasoavina, C.; Fanomezantsoa, P.; Rakotoarisoa, J. C.; Youssouf, M.; Ratsimbazafy, J.; Dolch, R.; King, T. (2011). Gathering local knowledge in Madagascar results in a major increase in the known range and number of sites for critically endangered greater bamboo lemurs (Prolemur simus). International Journal of Primatology 32 (3): 776-792
Dolch, R.; Patel, E. R.; Ratsimbazafy, J. H.; Golden, C. D.; Ratolojanahary, T.; Rafalimandimby, J.; Fiely, J. L. (2010). Distribution of Prolemur simus north of the Mangoro-Nosivolo River – how far north do we really have to look? Lemur News 15: 33-35.
Wright, P. C.; Larney, E.; Louis Jr., E. E.; Dolch, R.; Rafaliarison, R. R. (2009). Greater bamboo lemur Prolemur simus (Gray, 1871). In R. A. Mittermeier et al. (compilers), Primates in Peril: The World’s 25 Most Endangered Primates 2008-2010 (pp. 7-8). Primate Conservation, 24, 1-57.
Dolch, R.; Fiely, J. L.; Ndriamiary, J.-N.; Rafalimandimby, J.; Randriamampionona, R.; Engberg, S. E.; Louis Jr., E. E. (2008). Confirmation of the greater bamboo lemur, Prolemur simus, north of the Torotorofotsy wetlands, eastern Madagascar. Lemur News 13: 14–17.
Wright, P. C.; Johnson, S. E.; Irwin, M. T.; Jacobs, R.; Schlichting, P.; Lehman, S.; Louis Jr. E. E.; Arrigo-Nelson, S. J.; Raharison, J.-L.; Rafaliarison, R. R.; Razafindratsita, V.; Ratsimbazafy, J.; Ratelolahy, F. J.; Dolch, R.; Tan, C. (2008). The crisis of the critically endangered greater bamboo lemur (Prolemur simus). Primate Conservation 23: 1–14.
Dolch, R.; Hilgartner, R. D.; Ndriamiary, J.-N.; Randriamahazo, H. (2004). “The grandmother of all bamboo lemurs”: evidence for the occurrence of Hapalemur simus in fragmented rainforest surrounding the Torotorofotsy marshes, central eastern Madagascar. Lemur News 9: 24–26.