Blog by MBP Volunteer, Danielle
On 8th June, the field team, led by Ed Louis emerged from the forest of Sangasanga with a young female fossa. The fossa had been successfully caught after weeks of preparation to enable a radio collar to be fitted.
On closer inspection, the team found that the animal had a thin rope digging into the skin around her neck, which had caused an open and infected wound. It is thought that perhaps she had fallen victim to the pet trade or had been caught in a trap designed to kill fossa, who are considered pests, due to their predation of the free ranging poultry.
This female had managed to escape, but her injuries were quite severe. The team anesthetized her and brought her to the Kianjavato Ahmanson Field Station (KAFS) where her wounds were cleaned. Whilst she was sedated, we also took the opportunity to gather as much information as possible. For example, we now know this fossa weighs 4.47kg, an adult weight for a female is around 6.7kg, and can measure up to 1.5m.
It took this young carnivore quite a while to come round from the anesthesia, with the staff and volunteers checking on her regularly. It was decided she should stay the night in a quiet area at KAFS, so that she could fully recover before being released back into the forest. We all kept our fingers crossed she would pull through and decided to call her: “Tsara vintana” which means “Lucky” in Malagasy.
Unfortunately, the trauma of her injuries were too severe and devastatingly, she didn’t make it.
Although the circumstances and loss of the fossa was very sad, it highlighted the need to protect these elusive animals and how important it is to continue monitoring them and working with partners like Conservation Fusion to help with community outreach.
The carnivore team are currently in the field checking on the fossa traps, in the hope of fitting them with radio collars, this will enable more information to be gained about them, their behavior and their range. Hopefully the next fossa will have a happier future.