2,801Grants to


Greater big-footed mouse (Macrotarsomys ingens)

Mohamed bin Zayed Species project number 150511342

Updating the conservation strategy of the greater big-footed mouse in the dry forest of Ankarafantsika National Park.

Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation (Project No. 150511342) - Greater big-footed mouse - Awarded $5,000 on November 04, 2015



Seheno Rasoanomenjanaharya, Felix Rakotondraparanyb,

a&b Department of Animal Biology, University of Anatananarivo, Madagascar



The greater big footed mouse, Conservation strategy, Ankarafantsika



Madagascar is well known by its small mammal fauna richness and endemism. The greater big-footed mouse belongs to the subfamily of Nesomyinae. Its habitats are disturbed mostly by human activities and predation. We looked for the conservation strategy appropriate to the greater big-footed mouse last year and we‘re updating this strategy in order to heal the few remaining individuals living in Ankarafantsika National Park. We have considered a participatory approach of the local community on the conservation. So, our research has 4 objectives: knowing the biology of the greater big footed mouse, knowing its social behavior, predicting its future size, and updating its old conservation strategy by working with the local community. The results will lead to the variation of the greater big-footed mouse abundance and density in Ankarafantsika National Park, the territory (area), the habitat preference, and the new conservation strategy. The result is very useful to manage and to preserve the greater big-footed mouse living in the forest.



The greater big-footed mouse is only found in Ankarafantsika forest (Carleton and Schmidt 1990). It’s listed as Endangered species (IUCN, 2014) because its range is less than 5,000 km², it is present in a single location (Ankarafantsika forest), the extent and quality of its habitat continues to decline and the predation by domestic dog is frequent. The research about its ecology and biology is rare (Soarimalala & Goodman, 2011). Our research on October 2013 leads us to the low population size of this species (only 11individuals during 40 days). It is important to know the cause of this case. We found on 2014 that the predation has a negative effect to the population size. This year, we focused the biology and the behavior studies (especially social behavior: inter-species and intra-species competition). Ankarafantsika forest is threatened by bush fire to clear land for farming and grazing, selective logging and expanding rural populations (WWF 2007). For sure, such habitat destruction and degradation will impact heavily on the target species. So, our research has 4 objectives: knowing the biology of the greater big footed mouse, knowing its social behavior, predicting its future size, and updating its old conservation strategy in order to contribute to the reduction of its habitat loss and to conserve the biodiversity.

I.                   Materials and Methods

1. Study of the biology and the social behavior

We used radiotracking for these studies. Three males and three females have been followed during two months. Every night, the monitoring started at 06:00 pm (from the nest) to 06:00 am. We noticed all activities observed every 10 minutes. The local population has been formed for the survey methods by radiotracking

We can get the territory surface with this method by linking all capture point (site) for each individual.

2. Predicting the future size of the population and updating the conservation strategy

These steps depend on the results from studying biology and the threats inventory.

The sensitization of the local population is necessary in order to change their behavior. The method is based on the conference debate with local population for the protection of Macrotarsomys ingens because they don’t know the importance of this species, they think that it’s is dangerous only for their culture.


II.                Results

1.       Study of the biology

The greater big footed mouse is nocturnal, terrestrial and arboreal. It eats fruits and seeds. It gives birth to two pups per litter.

2.       Study of the social behavior

We observed competition intra and interspecific with Macrotarsomys bastardi that is more abundant.

They have habitat preference. They prefer the habitat with more litter (p=0.021Ë‚0.05) (chart 1).

Chart 01 : Kruskall Wallis test

H (observed value)



H (critical value)






One-tailed p-value






The Kruskal-Wallis H is distributed as a Chi-square

3.       Predicting the future population size and updating the new conservation strategy

                This study is still in process


III.             Discussion

1.       Methods

We captured the target species by hand. This method of catching is rapid but it disturbs the habitat of our target species and the habitat of all arboreal and terrestrial species.

The greater big-footed mouse has a habitat preference; it needs a lot of litter to survive. The litter can be used for their nest and also for food searching. We observed that almost of this species is terrestrial.

2.       Study of the biology

The results were not enough because this study needs more time, least one year.


Conclusion and recommandations

The greater big-footed mouse is rare in Ankarafantsika National Park. His protection is necessary to avoid the population declining. It needs forest to survive normally. We need to control the entry of tourist and researcher and avoid the entry of domestic dogs in the forest in order to conserve the habitat of the target species. The conservation through community participation needs to be adopted.



This study was financially supported by the Grant for the Mohamed Bin Zayed, so, we wish to express our gratitude to the Mohamed Bin Zayed members and to the staff of Madagascar National Park Ankarafantsika. We give thanks also to the Animal Biology Department, Antananarivo University for their material support.


- Soarimalala, V. & Goodman, S.M. 2011. Les petits mammifères de Madagascar. Association Vahatra, Critical ecosystem. 176p.

- ANGAP & Ministère de l’environnement, 2001. Plan de la gestion du Réseau National des Aires Protégées de Madagascar (PLANGRAP). ANGAP. 111p.

Project 150511342 location - Madagascar, Africa