PROJECT NEWS

Frontier Fiji - marine project moves to new location
Frontier Fiji has now moved locations to Beqa Island in order to assess the status of the coral reef systems around Beqa and within Beqa Lagoon
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Frontier Madagascar - Human’s interfere with Madagascar
On the island of Nosy Be, just off the coast of Madagascar, volunteers are continuing to assess the impacts of forest clearance, agricultural development and human disturbance upon the existing biodiversity (amphibians, reptiles, birds and more specifically the black lemur).
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Frontier Tanzania - Trap Thieving in Tanzania
Mafia Island off the coast of Tanzania has forests loaded with rich biodiversity which are also threatened by increasing pressures on resources due to increased poverty, and limited financial and human resources for conservation.
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Frontier Costa Rica - Primate Studies
Primates on the Osa Peninsula constitute an important part of its biodiversity. The role of primates in tropical forests is essential for maintaining floral biodiversity. The diets of most primates in fact are principally constituted by fruits. Due to their agile nature and moving across areas jumping from tree to tree, they perform an important role as seed dispersers, maintaining plant biodiversity.
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Frontier Madagascar Forest – Black Lemur Project
The Madagascar Forest project (MGF) has been running alongside the Marine project since 2011 in Nosy Be, a site approximately 8km from mainland Madagascar. The Forest site is located on the outskirts of Ambalahonko, a small village in buffer zone of Lokobe Special Forest reserve. This reserve falls within the Sambirano bio-geographic domain, a moist humid forest landscape which is one of the last strongholds for Madagascar’s Black Lemur (Eulemur macaco macaco).
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Frontier Tanzania Marine – Crown of Thorns Starfish on the Retreat
The Frontier Tanzania Marine Research Program (TZM) is located on Mafia Island, off the coast of mainland Tanzania. Base camp lies inside Mafia Island Marine Park (MIMP) in the village of Utende, which is located in the vicinity of Chole Bay, a highly tidal and bathymetrically complex inlet separated from the ocean by Kinasi Pass and Chole Pass. The tidal range in the bay is approximately 3m on springs and 1m on neaps, with a small intertidal area at mean low water.
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Frontier Cambodia Marine – Initial Project Updates
The Frontier Tanzania Cambodia Marine Research Programme (CMM) is located on the island Koh Smach, an island in the Gulf of Thailand located off the coastal province of Koh Kong, Cambodia. Cambodia’s coastline has around 69 islands, many of which are fringed by coral reefs and associated seagrass beds and mangrove habitats, providing critical habitats for thousands of marine species.
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Frontier Costa Rica: Sea Turtle Project Shows New Interesting Results
The Osa Conservation and Frontier Costa Rica turtle project has been producing some interesting results over the last survey phase. The patrolling of beaches and the monitoring of nesting females have allowed the team to gather once again data regarding the mysterious ecological behaviour of these fascinating animals.
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Frontier Tanzania Forest – General Project Updates
The Frontier Tanzania Forest Research Programme (TZF) is located on Mafia Island, off the coast of mainland Tanzania, East Africa. As with the coastal forests in mainland Tanzania, Mafia Island’s forests and rich biodiversity are threatened by an increased pressure on these resources due to the lack of government resource management, increased poverty and limitations on financial and human resources for conservation. In the 1930, there reportedly were extensive coastal forests on Mafia Island, with the last being destroyed in the late 1980s in order to make room for coconut plantations.
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Frontier Madagascar Forest – Bird Diversity project updates
Since the evolutionary appearance of the modern birds, Madagascar has been a geographically isolated island, separated from the nearest landmass, mainland Africa, by at least 200km of open ocean. Despite being in close proximity to mainland Africa, Madagascar has geologically been connected to the Indian and Seychelles Gondwana land block around 84 m.y.a. Its unique biogeographic history is evident when observing the native bird fauna, which is considered to be depauperate, or species-poor, with just 258 species (204 breeding species) despite the islands continental size and origins.
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Frontier Madagascar Marine - new mangrove project on Nosy Be Island
Frontier Madagascar has been monitoring mangrove forests since the year 2005. The project temporarily came to a halt in 2010 due to a change in location from mainland Madagascar to Nosy Be Island. During this new phase, the team has decided to start a new monitoring project on the mangrove forests of Nosy Be.
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Frontier Tanzania Marine – Commercial Fish Survey Updates
The Frontier Tanzania Marine Research Programme (TZM) is located on Mafia Island, off the coast of mainland Tanzania, East Africa. For this project, base camp lies inside Mafia Island Marine Park (MIMP) in the village of Utende. Just 300m from the camp is Chole Bay, a highly tidal and bathymetrically complex inlet, separated from the ocean by Kinasi Pass and Chole Pass, with an average depth of 20m. Survey sites during this phase were located within ‘Specified use’ zones within Chole Bay and outside the mouth of the bay.
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Frontier Costa Rica Forest – Camera Trap Updates
The site of study for this project in Costa Rica, the Osa Peninsula, has been described as an area of unique ecological importance given the high faunal diversity it supports. Amongst these diverse species, one may encounter jaguars (Panthera onca), cougars (Puma concolor) and white-lipped peccaries (Tayassu pecari). However, such species are elusive to study since they are highly sensitive and cautious in the presence of humans. As such, traditional sampling methods that have been employed to study other species in this project cannot be utilised for these animals.
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Frontier Tanzania Forest – Coastal Forest Project Updates
The coastal forests of Eastern African, in particular those found in Tanzania, are recognized as important hotspots for biodiversity since they contain a vast majority of Africa’s endemic species. With the closure of the Frontier TZS project in the Kilombero Valley at the end of phase 123, the equipment from TZS was transported to Mafia with the aim of setting up a terrestrial research programme to run alongside TZM.
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Frontier Madagascar Marine - New turtle project ready to begin on the Island of Nosy Be
The Madagascar Marine team are currently exploring the hypothesis of starting a new project involving the patrolling of turtle nesting sites on the beaches of the Island of Nosy Be.
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Frontier Madagascar – an ever increasing herpetofaunal database
Madagascar is already world renowned for its high levels of biodiversity and high degree of endemism, but sadly it is also becoming known for its ever increasing levels of deforestation. This process is occurring at an alarming rate, especially with the onset of increasing Malagasy populations over the last century.
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Frontier Cambodia: Introducing Frontier Cambodia Marine Project
New projects are currently being set up for a marine research project on the island of Koh Smach off the coast of Cambodia. The projects aim to focus on assessing and monitoring reef health and biodiversity as well as carrying out socio-economic assessments; the findings from these projects will benefit both the conservation of native wildlife as well as the local community.
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Frontier Tanzania Marine: Change of site for hippopotamus ecotourism project
Over the next few months the Tanzania Marine programme wants to initiate a conservation and ecotourism project for the Hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibious).
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Frontier Costa Rica Forest – Forest Re-vegetation
Deforestation is a significant threat to the wildlife of Costa Rica with large areas of land having been cleared for arable agriculture, plantations and buildings. These were the main causes of forest clearance between 1986 and 1991 when deforestation rates were estimated to be at 4.2%. The majority of people living in Costa Rica earn a living through agricultural means and so land clearance has been an important factor for many years with clearance rates being at their highest in the 1950s and 1960s.
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Frontier Madagascar Marine – Preliminary assessment of turtle populations: behaviour and species identification
A preliminary study has been conducted on Nosy Be Island, Madagascar to record the occurrence of turtles and their behaviour as part of a future assessment of species status in this area.
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Frontier Madagascar Marine – Coral Reef Health Monitoring
The MGM team continue to monitor the health of the coral reefs of Nosy Be carrying out regular surveys of the benthos, invertebrate population and fish population present using Baseline Survey Protocol (BSP). This protocol involves five researchers carrying out different aspects of the data collection. The roles required include a physical surveyor, a benthic surveyor, an invertebrate surveyor, a territorial fish surveyor and a schooling fish surveyor.
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Frontier Cost Rica – Changes to the primate monitoring programme
Primates constitute an important part of the biodiversity on the Osa Peninsula. There are four species present in the Osa region, the Central American Squirrel monkey (Saimiri oerstedii), Mantled howler monkey (Alouatta palliata), Geoffroy’s spider monkey (Ateles geoffroyi) and White-faced capuchin monkey (Cebus capuchinus). These primates perform important roles as seed dispersers and are therefore crucial in maintaining plant biodiversity in the forests of the Osa Peninsula.
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Frontier Cost Rica – River Otter monitoring
Frontier’s research programme in Costa Rica began in July 2009 in collaboration with the Osa Conservation at the Osa Biodiversity Centre. Part of the programme is concerned with monitoring the habitat distribution of the endangered species of Neotropical River Otter (Lontra longicaudis).
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Frontier Tanzania Marine – Commercial fish surveys
Since starting work on Mafia Island, Frontier-Tanzania’s Marine Team have been monitoring the abundance and size of commercially important fish species over a range of reefs surrounding the island which are located in different use zones of the Mafia Island Marine Park (MIMP); an important marine protected area in the region.
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Frontier Tanzania Marine – The importance of Mangrove stands for commercially important fish species
Mangrove stands provide a unique system unlike any other on this planet. Not only do they provide a unique habitat for a number of different species, but they also carry out a number of other important ecosystem functions and services.
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Frontier Tanzania Marine – The importance of a clean beach
The Tanzania marine and forest teams have been over to Juani Island to take part in a beach clean at one of the local turtle nesting sites.
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Frontier Madagascar Forest – How is human proximity affecting lemur behaviour?
The MGF team has been situated on the island of Nosy Be for over a year and a half now and their studies have drawn interesting conclusions, on species both large and small. The study of black lemur, and hawk’s sportive lemur behaviour was at first concerned with preliminary data to be built upon in later studies, but when it moved onto a study of behaviour in areas of human disturbance the team began to notice some interesting things back at camp.
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Frontier Tanzania Forest – Conflict between crows and humans on Mafia Island?
Tanzania’s capital city, Dar es Salaam was reported to be home to between 300,000 and 500,000 crows at the last count and efforts taken to try to control their numbers have been unsuccessful. Since their introduction into Zanzibar in 1891, House Crows have flourished and they are found in their thousands all over East Africa.
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Frontier Madagascar Forest - Plight of the Madagascar Fish Eagle
Exciting news from our Madagascar Forest team, the group have spotted a pair of rare Madagascar Fish Eagles (Haliaeetus vociferoides) this past week near camp. The pair have been seen soaring around the Ambalahonko village area and are expected to range across the entire island of Nosy Be. The species is critically endangered according to the IUCN redlist and is endemic to Madagascar where it resides down the west coast and in several protected areas.
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Frontier Madagascar Forest - Looking at the recovery of reptile and amphibian communities from forest clearance
As we know, Madagascar is one of the “hottest” biodiversity hotspots on the planet. Is shows extremely high endemism in all areas of life; 51% in birds, 100% in terrestrial mammals, 91% in reptiles, 99% in amphibians and 81% in terrestrial plants. Out of all these endemic species it has been estimated that over 90% of these are dependent on the forest and woodland habitats of the island.
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Frontier Costa Rica - Turtle Egg Depredation by Dogs
During the last phase in Costa Rica study of turtle nesting sites has begun to include data on predation. Although in its early stages this study has seen many observations of disturbed nests and predated eggs on both Piro and Pejeperro beaches.
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Frontier Tanzania - Exciting New Projects
Exciting new science projects are being organized by the Frontier Tanzania Forest team (TZF) and London Headquarters. The majority of the new projects will be focusing on human-wildlife interactions and socio-economic studies which will aid both local communities and conservation.
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Frontier Cambodia - Exposing Illegal Logging
Cambodia as a whole currently has the world’s third fastest rate of deforestation and in the area occupied by Frontier’s camp – the Oddar Meanchey Province - the rate of deforestation has been estimated at 2.1% per year.
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Frontier Tanzania - The Importance of Wildlife Corridors
As the human population grows and expands into new areas many forms of wildlife find themselves in smaller and smaller habitats and unable to move across the land as they used to.
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Frontier Tanzania Savannah - Avian Pox Study
The Tanzania Savannah Team has been mist netting in the Kilombero Reserve to monitor the bird species present and their populations. Whilst conducting the study an endemic Kilombero Weaver (Ploceus burnieri), which is vulnerable according to the IUCN redlist, was captured.
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Frontier Madagascar Forest - New Mouse Lemur Project
Claire’s Mouse Lemur (Microcebus mamiratra) was only identified as a species recently (Olivier et al. 2006) through the combination of reports on what were thought to be two different species of lemur. It is believed to be confined to the area around Lokobe Special Reserve, where Frontier Madagascar conducts their terrestrial research.
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Frontier Fiji – Marine Surveys: “No Take Zones” Have Higher Diversity and Abundance
Frontier’s Fiji Marine Research team have been busy continuing the marine baseline surveys, collecting data with respect to the diversity and abundance of fish, benthic forms, algae and invertebrates. This phase, interestingly, the research team have found that sites in the Qarani tabu area have higher levels of fish abundance and diversity.
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Frontier Costa Rica – The New Butterfly Project
Butterflies are one of the most diverse groups of invertebrates, with twice as many species of butterflies as terrestrial birds and approximately three times the number of mammals and reptiles. Nearly 90% of all butterfly species live in the tropics; it is surprising therefore that extremely little is known about tropical butterfly ecology in comparison to their temperate counterparts. In Costa Rica alone there are at least 1,250 species of butterflies.
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Frontier Madagascar Marine – Coral Reef Monitoring
Coral reefs around the globe are degrading at an alarming rate. Corals are important to ecosystem dynamics in that their survival, growth and reproduction dramatically influence the success of the entire community by providing inhabitable places for other species. Anthropogenic impacts on reefs range from recreational practices, such as diving, to water pollution from soil runoff due to deforestation. The effects of large scale projects can be seen on reefs.
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Frontier Madagascar – Monitoring Lemurs: A Scientific and Social Study
The Frontier Madagascar Forest Project has been studying the habits and abundance of lemurs throughout the northwest of Madagascar for 4 years. Though there are over 20 species of lemur, all of which are endemic to the island, Frontier has primarily studied the Black Lemur (Eulemur macaco). Studies have ranged from the difference between different vocalizations depending on time of day and group size, to measures of abundance in forest fragments.
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Frontier Costa Rica – Olive Ridley Turtle Hatchlings
Frontier Costa Rica Staff and Volunteers are seeing more and more turtle hatchlings in the last few weeks. The two beaches on the Costa Rica camp, Playa Piro and Playa Pejeperro are the nesting grounds for two turtle species, the Olive Ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea) and the Pacific Green (Chelonia mydas agassizii).
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Frontier Tanzania Marine – Swimming With Humpback Whales
Last Friday Staff and Volunteers from Frontier Tanzania Marine were lucky enough to have some close encounters with humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae). Adult humpbacks range in body length from about 12-16 metres, and weigh approximately 36,000 kilograms. Humpback whales are found in all the major ocean basins. They undertake long migrations between breeding grounds in tropical coastal water in winter to feeding grounds in middle and high latitudes.
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Frontier Fiji Marine – Swimming With Manta Rays
Last week a few Frontier Fiji staff and volunteers had the opportunity to dive with Manta rays in the Nigali passage, Gau Island, Fiji. Both the reef manta ray (Manta alfredi) and the giant manta ray (Manta birostris) species are listed as vulnerable on the IUCN (International Union for the conservation of Nature) redlist.
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Frontier Costa Rica – Puma Captured on Camera Trap
Frontier Costa Rica has captured their first ever big cat on camera. Costa Rica’s camera traps have captured four photos of a Puma concolor, commonly known as a puma, panther, cougar, mountain lion and mountain cat.
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Frontier Costa Rica Forest Programme - The New Dragonfly Project
Dragonflies (Insecta: Odonata) are amongst the most attractive and captivating groups of insects. They are known to occupy a wide range of aquatic habitats in forests which include seasonal and permanent pools, seasonal and permanent swamps, lakes, streams, rivers and springs. Their bright colors, aerial acrobatics, large body size and unique mating patterns capture scientist are as well as tourist’s attention.
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Frontier Tanzania - Commercial Fish Surveys on Mafia Island
Mafia Island Marine Park was established in 1995 as Tanzania’s first multi-user zone marine park. Currently, 14 villages and over 18,000 people live within the new park boundaries acting and interacting with the marine resources. A zoning policy was developed with three zones within the park; Core Zone, restricted use zone, and general use zone.
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Frontier Tanzania Savannah - Large Mammal Surveys and the Conflict Between People and Elephants
The Kilombero Valley has long been an important area for large mammal populations and at one time had the largest density of Wildlife in Tanzania located outside of protected areas. Immigration into the Kilombero Valley has increased significantly in recent years. This change has had a direct impact on large mammal populations. Frontier Tanzania Savannah is monitoring this impact and is working with local villages and district councils to preserve the remaining natural habitat within the area.
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Frontier Cambodia – Gibbon Encounter on Cambodia Forest Project
This week our team in Cambodia Forest had a close encounter with one of the worlds most endangered primates the pileated gibbon. The pileated gibbon (Hylobates pileatus) inhabits tropical forests ranging throughout Indo-China, comprising South East Thailand, South Western Lao, and Western Cambodia.
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Frontier Cambodia – Frontier Cambodia Spots a Binturong for the First Time
Within the same week as a Frontier Cambodia’s first pileated gibbon (Hylobates pileatus) sighting, a binturong (Artictis binturong) was spotted by Frontier volunteers. The binturong is a species of civet native to South East Asia including India, China, Viet Nam, Bhutan and Cambodia. It is listed as vulnerable on the ICUN red list of threatened species due to a population decline of over 30% in the last 30 years.
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Frontier Costa Rica – The Neotropical River Otter (Lontra longicaudis)
This fascinating species leads a solitary lifestyle and lives in a variety of habitats from swamps to streams to lagoons in Central and South America. It is known for being able to adapt well to habitat disturbance and there are reports of the species even inhabiting irrigation ditches in rice and sugar plantations.
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Frontier Cambodia: Malayan Sun Bear (Helarctos malayanus)
The Sun Bear is a solitary bear, the smallest member of the bear family, which inhabits tropical forests from southern China to eastern India and down south as far as Indonesia. Nicknamed the ‘honey bear’, Helarctos malayanus is known for its incredibly long tongue which it uses to extract honey from bee nest. Little is known about the social life or population size and trends of this elusive bear.
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Frontier Tanzania Marine - Commercial Fishing Surveys: Absence of the Sweetlips (Haemulidae)
The Tanzanian coast is home to approximately 25% of the countries entire population. Fishing is a predominant primary means of subsistence for the majority of the communities living on the Western Indian Ocean coastline, and therefore the management and monitoring of commercial fishing is not only essential for the protection of species, but also the livelihoods of the local population.
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Frontier Cambodia: Gaur (Bos gaurus) behavioural changes caught on camera traps.
Frontier Cambodia has regularly captured images of gaur (Bos gaurus) during camera trap surveying of the Kulen – Promtep Wildlife Sanctuary. Gaurs are native to South and South East Asia and are one of the world’s largest wild cattle species. They have been listed on the ICUN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) as ‘vulnerable’ since 1986. Even though guars have had vulnerable status for twenty six years, populations have continued to decrease, with decline in parts of the species range being over 70% in the last three generations (26-30 years).
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Project News – Madagascar Forest - Habituation of the black lemur
Madagascar is a vast island rich in endemic and unique species, but perhaps the most predominant and significant organism on the island are the Lemuriformes. There are approximately 100 known species of lemur, however problematic classification has caused taxonomic uncertainty within the scientific world.
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Frontier Costa Rica – Sea Turtles
Sea turtles are a unique species. Not only are they a flagship species due to their iconic nature, but they are also an excellent indicator species for climate changes thanks to their temperature dependent sex determination.
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Frontier Fiji: Butterflyfish (Chaetodontidae)
The butterflyfish are a group of conspicuous tropical marine fish of the family Chaetodontidae. These beautiful fish are much admired by divers, eco-tourists and scientists alike; however, for some species of butterflyfish, their strong dependency on certain species of coral has put them increasingly under threat as coral reef loss becomes an ever more urgent problem.
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Frontier Cambodia: Northern Pig Tailed Macaque (Macaca leonina)
Frontier's Cambodia project, located in the Kulen-Promtep Wildlife Sanctuary, has recently captured 48 images of the Northern Pig Tailed Macaque (Macaca leonina) at different site locations around the sanctuary. The Northern Pig Tailed Macaque has an IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) status of ‘vulnerable’ (since 2000).
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Overfishing of Sea Cucumbers in Fiji
Many sea cucumbers (holothurians) are harvested and dried for export for use in Chinese cuisine as Hoi sam and bêche-de-mer, and holothurians are actively fished on Gau Island, Fiji, where the fishery is a significant source of income for local communities. However, local evidence suggests that fishery is currently operating at an unsustainable level as general observations of species appear to be characterised by those of a minimal commercial value, thus showing that the fishery is not economically viable.
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Hippopotamus project progresses on Mafia Island
The island of Mafia has a small population of Hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibious) which inhabit a network of lagoons in an inland area. As little is known about the population, a project was initiated in autumn 2011 with the aim of investigating its size and movements, as well as its impact on the community, with the ultimate goal of ensuring protection of the hippos.
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Frontier Fiji - Grouper Duo Spotted on Fiji Marine Project
Groupers: these territorial chaps don’t tend to hang around with each other, especially on the reef where there is territory to compete for. Yet our conservation volunteers on Fiji Marine (FJM) have recently observed two individuals in close proximity to each other, swimming along harmoniously; a real treat when considering the usual intraspecific competition occurring between individuals.
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Frontier Tanzania - Working Hard on Large Mammal Transects
Frontier’s Tanzania Savannah project is located in the Kilombero Valley, Morogoro Region, Tanzania. The Kilombero Valley covers an area of 6,650km² between the Udzungwa Mountains National Park and the Selous Game Reserve.
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Frontier Tanzania - Awareness-Rairing Day at Kitmondo School
On the 10th of May Frontier Tanzania completed their first successful awareness raising day on Mafia Island at the Utende Primary School.
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Frontier Costa Rica - Amphibian Project Progresses
Amphibians stand at the frontline of global biodiversity loss. More than one third of amphibian species are globally threatened, and over 120 species have been categorised as extinct by IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of nature) since 1980. In Costa Rica, the Frontier research team has introduced a new project investigating altitudinal migration of amphibians and reptiles.
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Frontier Cambodia - Fishing Cat Spotted in Cambodia
Recently, Cambodia staff and volunteers spotted a Fishing cat on one of their night walks!
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Tanzania Marine - Increased Protection for Whale Sharks on Mafia Island, Tanzania
Whale sharks on Mafia Island are popular with tourists, and several whale shark safari tours operate in the area. With the possibility that whale sharks around the island are under threat, studies commenced at the beginning of the year to obtain scientific data on the whale shark population through collaboration with whale shark tour operators and the District Council. Workshops have also begun in order to train all stakeholders in the surveying techniques required to acquire scientifically viable data, and meetings to establish a patrol boat which will serve to protect the whale sharks have taken place.
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Frontier Madagascar - Black Lemur Behavioural Project to Take Place
So far on the Madagascar Forest Project (MGF) several research studies are successfully underway. These include timed active searches investigating the effect of forest age and clearance on species abundance, setting up pitfall and Sherman traps, and bird surveys for which research assistants have been successfully trained for. With all this already underway, a proposed science program has already been set up for next phase including an exciting study on black lemurs and their behavior.
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Frontier Cambodia - Rare Frog Species Discovered Ouside Normal Range
Fantastic news just in- our Cambodia Tropical Wildlife and Adventure Project has just received some exciting news regarding the narrow mouthed frog species, Microhyla inornata. Previously, this species had only been seen on the Cardamom Mountains; however, it has now been found around Frontier’s research area in the Oddar Meanchey Province, Cambodia which is a significant distance from its previously known range.
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Frontier Fiji - Crown of Thorns Starfish
Coasts are losing their coral reefs for many reasons, most of which can be traced back to humans. Removal of top fish predators can encourage an increase of certain species, such as the crown-of-thorns starfish, which has already been observed on Frontier’s Fiji project.
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