Jean Michel “Joany” Tsiory Nambinina

Student Researcher—Anjanaharibe-Sud Site

Joany’s previous fieldwork has focused on the feeding ecology of diademed sifaka in the Tsinjoarivo-Ambalaomby Protected Area, gaining experience as a research assistant to international student projects through Northern Illinois University. In addition to research, he is a well-known orator (Mpikabary) going by the name “Joany Mic’alo” and leads traditional Malagasy weddings and other ceremonies.

Joany completed his MSc in Biological Anthropology and Sustainable Development, specializing in Primatology, in 2024 from the University of Antananarivo in Madagascar.

Q&A with Joany

What draws you to a career in wildlife conservation?

I grew up close to Tsimbazaza Zoological Park in Antananarivo, so I often visited during my childhood. The zoo primarily houses local wildlife, which is how I first came to be fascinated by Madagascar’s fauna and flora, well before I even realized the critical global importance of my country’s biodiversity. This led me to pursue a relevant degree at the University of Antananarivo, where I learned more about Madagascar’s biodiversity with my ultimate goal of conserving and protecting it.

Who or what inspires you?

I am inspired by Professor Steve Goodman, and well-known Malagasy researchers such as Professors Jonah Ratsimbazafy, Josia Razafindramanana, and Jean Freddy Ranaivoarisoa, They are all deeply dedicated to the conservation of Madagascar’s biodiversity, as well as to the education of future generations of Malagasy scientists and conservationists. For me, it is a privilege to be their student.

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

As a Malagasy person, I am interested in everything about Madagascar, including its history and culture. I have three favorite books, which are (in no particular order) Histoire de Madagascar by Hubert DeChamps, Fomba Malagasy by Rev. W. E. Cousins, and Lemurs of Madagascar by Russell Mittermeier, et al.

What is one of the coolest experiences you’ve had in your work?

My coolest experience so far has been my Masters fieldwork. For this, I studied the feeding ecology of diademed sifaka in the Tsinjoarivo-Ambalaomby protected area. This was my first professional work experience, and I am proud of the research I conducted.

Besides lemurs, what is one of your favorite animals, and why?

Besides lemurs, dogs are my favorite animal. My family’s dog is named Booba.

Why do you care about Madagascar and its wildlife?

Madagascar’s biodiversity is well known around the world, and as a Malagasy person, I believe I have the obligation to protect its endemic fauna and flora for future generations. My hope is that my conservation work can also contribute to my country’s further development.