5th Prosimian Congress

Thanks to Dr. Jonah Ratsimbazafy (Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, Madagascar), a congress chairperson and keynote speaker, for sharing these incredible images and great experience at the 5th Prosimian Congress.  (Caption information is from the congress website at http://www.prosimiancongress.org/index.php/about/history )

The International Prosimian Congress is recognized as the most important global meeting for primatologists studying any aspect of prosimian biology to present and share their experiences. The congress features a dynamic scientific program with more than 150 cutting- edge contributions to symposia, workshops and posters; countless networking opportunities for future collaboration, fantastic field trips, and world-renowned keynote speakers, all contributing to the conservation of prosimians.

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The venue of the Congress was the Centre ValBio Research Campus in Ranomafana, Fianarantsoa, Madagascar. Everyone was welcomed warmly at one of the island’s most unique and beautiful treasures, where forests, animals, weather and people are amazing.  The Centre Valbio is a research station located on the edge of beautiful Ranomafana National park. It is among the best location in the Indian Ocean for primate lovers.

Prosimian primates have been relatively neglected in the past for several reasons; their predominantly cryptic, nocturnal habits; their occurrence in countries with under-developed infrastructures; and their misunderstood “primitive” nature as a result of their early divergence from anthropoid primates, including humans. Nevertheless, no interpretation of primate evolution could be considered comprehensive without an understanding of these fascinating animals, and their high levels of diversity provide a unique window for understanding processes of mammalian evolution, and primate evolution in particular.

‘Global analysis of the conservation status of the world’s mammals shows that primates are one of the orders most threatened by extinction. Among primates, prosimians are highly vulnerable to various threats. Prosimians are widely distributed throughout the remaining tropical and subtropical forests of Asia, Africa and Madagascar, where hunting, habitat degradation, climate change and the pet trade are reported to be common threats. The lemurs of Madagascar, the galagos (or bushbabies) of Africa, the lorises (or pottos) of Africa and south-east Asia, and the tarsiers of south-east Asia are among the most endangered mammals on Earth. The lemurs of Madagascar are particularly interesting, since they represent the most extensive diversification of all living primates, and yet they are also the least understood.’  Use this link to learn more about the keynote speakers and their presentations http://www.prosimiancongress.org/index.php/event/keynote-speakers

‘Deciphering the relative impact of threats on population abundance, species survival, and adaptation is critical to predicting extinction risk and providing conservation recommendations. Significant research has been conducted on prosimians; new species have been discovered in addition to a growing wealth of information on existing species. Such research has contributed greatly to our knowledge and understanding, yet there is a tangible risk of losing a substantial proportion of prosimian species. The question is therefore ‘how can science and policy best promote prosimian survival?’ To attempt to answer this key question, we propose to organize an International Prosimian Conference in Ranomafana, Madagascar to discuss and develop the topic of the Congress 2013: “How science and policy can pull prosimians back from the brink of extinction?”.’

The Ranomafana National Park is very well known for its amazing biodiversity in humid rainforest, its cultural and historical heritage, conservation challenges and success stories.  Use this link to see more about the ‘Wednesday Field Trips’ during the conference  http://www.prosimiancongress.org/index.php/event/wednesday-expeditions

What a beautiful place…

And what an amazing group of talented, accomplished, dedicated, and enthusiastic scientists.

‘Go lemurs!’

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