Video Blog:

Save the forests
of Madagascar

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Katta, Fossa, Tenrek: Animal life on Madagascar is unique. Almost only endemic species live on Madagascar, the fourth largest island in the world; that means animals which cannot be found anywhere else. Isolated from neighboring continents, the flora has also developed its own unique plant life. But this diversity is under severe threat: 90% of the rainforest has already been destroyed. More and more animals and plants are therefore losing their habitat, and soil erosion has also become a problem. A team of researchers wants to help stop the destruction of the forest and its fauna. The idea: Madagascan students are being trained to protect the environment. However, in order to effectively protect the flora and fauna the biologists must first find out more about them. Peggy Giertz, a doctoral student, compiles a video diary to document the expedition.

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Endangered Natural Paradise

Researchers discover new species here year after year: Biologists are fascinated by the diversity of the species found on Madagascar. But this diversity is in danger, for as the forest is destroyed, more and more animals and plants die with it.

Caught in the Bucket

Dropped in it for a good purpose: The biologists set up catch-alive traps to find out which animals are still living in the rainforest.

To Success with Peanut Butter

They look like mice or moles and only live on Madagascar: Tenrecs belong to the most fascinating small mammals on the Island. They live in a variety of habitats – but which species lives where?

An Exotic in the Trap

A series of lucky finds for the researchers: The biologists find quite different tenrec species in their traps – and even a very special little surprise.

Caught in the Net

Sensitive finger work for little feathered creatures: The ornithologists struck lucky and have caught a large number of birds in their nets. Birds play a central role in the forests of Madagascar.

Prickly Find

Even the smallest inhabitants of the forest are examined: The researchers collect parasites from the caught mammals. What will they reveal about the prevalent deseases?

Timid palm resident

Change in time – change in staff: At night, the biologists find very different species in the tropical forest than during daytime. A tiny frog is of particular interest to the researchers. Will they be able to catch it?

Mesh without echo

The coincidence helps the biologist to a new object of study: They can examine the unexplored world of the bats of this forest.

Blood ties among bats

Following the successful bat-hunt, the researchers want certainty: Which species did they catch? The answer increases the urgency of their task: to protect the rain forests of Madagascar.

A task for generations

Eight exciting weeks are over, now the researchers evaluate the expedition: What else can be done to protect the rain forest? And have they found new allies in the students?
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*) The Project

For millions of years, the island of Madagascar has lain isolated in the Indian Ocean, where it has become home to a multitude of flora and fauna which can be found nowhere else on Earth. However, this unique plant and animal world is under threat. A group of researchers is training Madagascan students to assume future responsibility for the protection of their extraordinary natural heritage. Biologist Peggy Giertz from Hamburg is involved in the international training program.

Peggy Giertz

Peggy Giertz has always been interested in the relationship between animals and their environment. During her studies, the bark beetle was at the center of her attention. Now she is a doctoral student under the supervision of Professor Jörg Ganzhorn at the University of Hamburg, where she is writing her doctoral dissertation on the mouse lemurs indigenous to Madagascar. Very little is known about these tiny creatures. Giertz wants to find out how these night-active lemures are adapted to their habitat and to what extent climate change and over exploitation of the forest could present a threat to the mouse lemures.
The biologist Peggy Giertz from Hamburg accompanies a training program for students in the endangered natural habitat of Madagascar.

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