Ankarafa Field Station

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Reconnecting forests, wildlife and people

Madagascar is one of the world’s most important hotspots for biodiversity, yet it is also one of the world’s poorest countries, with 92% of people living below the poverty line.

Bristol Zoological Society have been working in northern Madagascar since 2006 to safeguard the future of wildlife on this unique island. Most of our work is focused in and around the Sahamalaza-Iles Radama National Park.

We work primarily with lemur species, such as the blue-eyed black lemur, the Sahamalaza sportive lemur and the Sambirano mouse lemur, as well as the Madagascar sacred ibis. However, the project also includes other taxa, such as invertebrates and herpetofauna.

Each year, students and researchers conduct vital studies on these species in an effort to better understand their behaviour and ecology. This enables us to work with local NGOs and the Malagasy government to create informed conservation management plans for these species and the region.

We are working with local people to save their natural heritage through development programmes and conservation education. This includes help with reforestation, fire control and protection, and the provision of schools and drinking water.

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Ankarafa field station

We have teamed up with Grant Associates, Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios and BuroHappold Engineering to make huge steps to secure the future of Madagascar’s people and their threatened wildlife by creating the Ankarafa field station.

We believe the creation of an improved field station at the heart of the Ankarafa Forest, along with associated projects and participation of the local communities, will make a significant contribution to secure the future of wildlife and people in the Sahamalaza Peninsula. This collaboration will undoubtedly set an international example for creative conservation, innovative research, education and the regeneration of threatened habitats.

Aims and objectives for the new field station

The current Ankarafa field camp is extremely basic with a few rudimentary buildings, a collection of tent shelters for researchers, and an open-air kitchen with a covered eating area.

The new field station will provide an internationally recognised research base and high-quality environment for students and researchers. It will also increase opportunities for local people whilst connecting and inspiring audiences in the UK and around the world.

The renowned Ankarafa field station will:

  • Become a permanent research facility at Sahamalaza; building capacity by training field assistants and researchers, and providing long-term, local job opportunities.
  • Facilitate more students and researchers (both international and Malagasy) to conduct research and utilise the camp and the data collected by trained local field researchers. Each international student also funds a Malagasy post-graduate student to work alongside them.
  • Support a strategy to increase sustainable tourism, providing livelihoods and income for the area.
  • Provide a valuable education resource for local children and communities.
  • Showcase the unique forest environment, local culture and Critically Endangered species and the associated research work to a wider audience around the world.
  • Encourage habitat restoration to extend and potentially link up the fragments of remaining forest.


Field station build costs: £75,000

Field station kit out: £36,000

Furnishings, equipment, scientific apparatus

Vehicle provision: £80,000

Two four-wheel drive vehicles

On-going costs per annum: £25,000

Salaries: £11,000

Station manager, research assistants and drivers

Students: £10,000

Provision towards research student costs

Maintenance and upkeep: £1,500

Field station and vehicles

Power: £1,500

Batteries, back-up and maintenance

Supplies: £1,000

Consumable goods

*Budget is estimate

If you would like to know more about this project please contact our Development team at

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Now’s your last chance to visit before the Zoo’s last day 03.09.22

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Now’s your last chance to visit before the Zoo’s last day 03.09.22