Rita Iholiharinala Ratsisetraina
- Project name: Assessing the impacts of forest degradation on the population of Varecia rubra, Masoala National Park
- Project site: Masoala National Park, Madagascar
- EDGE species: Red ruffed lemur Varecia rubra
- Active: 2017 - ongoing
Rita conducted research on the impacts of Cyclone Hudah on the red ruffed lemur from 2000-2006 and discovered that the species is very sensitive to habitat disturbance and that population recovery is slow.
Having previously worked for the Wildlife Conservation Society, WWF and Conservation International, she founded the Malagasy organisation Nosy Maitso in 2013 to fight biodiversity loss and environmental degradation. She sees her EDGE Fellowship as a way to gain new skills and experiences that will enable her to research and collaborate more effectively to further Red ruffed lemur conservation. She is working in close partnership with local organisations and cross-sector stakeholders to share her skills and experiences, protect this iconic species, and build much-needed conservation capacity in Madagascar.
Rita’s project aims to:
- Provide baseline information on the status and trends of the red-ruffed lemur population, and species biology, ecology and adaptation strategies in a highly disturbed and changing habitat;
- Assess the current state of the habitat;
- Raise awareness amongst cross-sector stakeholders at local and regional level about the importance of the species and the conservation of Masoala Forest inside and outside the National Park;
- Formulate and disseminate technical and scientific recommendations for conservation management planning to better address biodiversity loss..