The first couple of days I spent getting to know the place and exploring the trails with Rebecca, who's been very helpful in introducing me to the possibilities here. At Kirindy I'm going to focus on the experimental component of my lemur health project. Experiment you say? Like white lab coats and cooking up chemicals? Not quite, but I am trying to make it a controlled study in the midst of field conditions that are hard to control.
I'm interested in how the intense dry season here in the west affects the health of lemurs.
I'll be looking at general body condition, stress levels, and parasite diversity in Microcebus over the course of the dry season in both disturbed and less disturbed habitat.
My hypothesis is that as the dry season progresses, which decreases the amount of nutrients and water available to lemurs, their stress levels and general body condition will decrease, which will leave them more susceptible to parasite infections and disease. And all of this will be worse in the more disturbed habitats. More than you wanted to know, right?
I’ve marked out two of the four grids for my health study so far, and I set up the evaluation room (well, ...tent), where I’ll check out all of the mouse lemurs that I capture.
To test out methodology I set out 10 traps a few nights ago, and had some success on the first day! Meet our first subject, KM 001. A cute little guy, if I do say so myself.