DR. Jacques Rakotondranary

La Mananara Conservation Program Manager

Jacques Rakotondranary has over 20 years of professional experience in biodiversity conservation and program management. His research has largely focused on the ecology of mouse lemur species across spiny forest and rainforest habitats, in addition to exploring the effects of forest degradation on various lemur species. He helped establish a field station in Tsimanampetsotse National Park and advised several master and doctoral theses of Malagasy students in lemur ecology and conservation, as well as human livelihoods.

From 2012 to 2017, Jacques worked as Madagascar’s national coordinator for a research and development project funded by the German Ministry for Science and Education. Through these positions, he became a skilled administrator, including the management of CITES permits, and providing logistical assistance to several international research groups. He also conducted numerous lemur research projects as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Institute of Zoology at Universtät Hamburg, funded by the German Research Foundation.

Jacques received a Diplôme d’Études Approfondies (Master’s degree) in Animal Biology from the University of Antananarivo in 2004, and a PhD in Animal Ecology and Conservation from Universtät Hamburg (Germany) in 2011. He is concurrently a visiting lecturer in the Department of Anthropobiology and Sustainable Development at the University of Antananarivo, and within the Institut Supérieur des Sciences, Environnement et Développement Durable at the University of Toamasina.

Q&A with Dr. Jacques Rakotondranary

What draws you to a career in wildlife conservation?

Growing up in Madagascar, it’s easy to see the rampant forest degradation and deforestation. While this habitat loss is driven by business interests, it’s equally driven by local villagers’ need to generate income so that they provide food for their families. Building a sustainable future for both people and wildlife is incredibly complex, but it’s a challenge that is worthwhile.

What is one of the most memorable experiences in your career so far?

Life in Germany while working on my PhD dissertation. My colleagues were all very welcoming and became like family, with Hamburg becoming my second home.

Who or what inspires you?

I am inspired by lemurs, particularly the mouse lemurs (Microcebus). Though they do not speak like humans, their eyes convey our shared lineage, and I have always been drawn to support their conservation. 

Is there a book or film that has influenced you or made a strong impression?

I have always been impressed by Charles J. Krebs’ book Ecology. It offers a comprehensive exploration of ecological principles, processes, and contemporary issues. Through clear explanations and relevant examples, Krebs elucidates the intricate relationships between organisms and their environments, making it an essential resource for students and researchers.

What do you love about Madagascar and its wildlife?

Madagascar is my country and more than anything I want to contribute what I can towards preserving Madagascar’s unique nature while also assisting in its future sustainable development.