Say Cheese! Using camera traps to detect Madagascar’s largest carnivore, the fosa

Post created by Samuel Merson

Camera traps have become an important tool for biologists and conservationists alike.  They are regularly used in surveying, and are of particular use in detecting rare and elusive animals.

Meet the fosa (Cryptoprocta ferox), Madagascar’s largest native predator and a particularly challenging animal to study. Fosa occupy large areas of forest at low population densities, making them difficult to observe naturally in the wild. It’s these biological characteristics that make cameras the perfect tool in our study examining the effects of human habitat alteration upon fosa’s presence in forests.

I’ve recently returned from Madagascar’s western forests, where I’ve been establishing large grids of cameras inside the forest. Much of the time our cameras photograph nothing of interest, however occasionally they’re able to depict an interesting story. So here are some images from our previous two field trips that display some of Madagascar’s endemic wildlife, whilst also highlighting some of the issues that they face, including competition from invasive wild cats.

 

 

 

Changing Planet

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Meet the Author
While his own research focuses on learning about and protecting the fossa, Madagascar's elusive top predator, Luke Dollar has also devoted himself to promoting smart and effective conservation throughout the world. As a part of this larger dedication, he also heads up National Geographic's Big Cats Initiative. Learn More About Luke Dollar and His Work