Rojotiana “Rojo” Rakotoarisoa

Student Researcher—La Mananara Site

Rojo has worked on a variety of lemur research projects over the last few years and is particularly interested in working on lemur genetics and lemur parasites. She worked as a research assistant at Berenty Reserve in southern Madagascar, carrying out data collection on the behavioral ecology of both brown lemurs and ring-tailed lemurs in the gallery forest. This work was in collaboration with IMPACT Madagascar.

Through participation in a Bangor University field course, hosted at the field sites of Mitsinjo, Ranomafana, and Kianjavato, she learned invaluable wildlife survey skills, including the use of passive acoustic monitoring and camera traps. Most recently, she worked as a research assistant at Eulophiela Lodge in Andasibe where she carried out lemur surveys and helped create a promotional video for tourism.

Concurrent with her work at La Mananara, she is the project coordinator at Tany Ketsa, a women-led association dedicated to the environmental education of primary school children.

Rojo received a Bachelor’s degree in Biological Anthropology in 2018, and a Master’s degree in Biological Anthropology and Sustainable Development, specializing in Primatology, in 2023 from the University of Antananarivo in Madagascar.

Q&A with Rojo

What draws you to a career in wildlife conservation?

I have always loved nature since I was very young. I was drawn to a career in wildlife conservation after witnessing the reality, and loss, of Madagascar’s biodiversity. That led me to focus my studies on lemur conservation through the Department of Biological Anthropology and Sustainable Development at the University of Antananarivo, which has provided me with incredible opportunities to gain experience in this field throughout Madagascar.

Who or what inspires you?

I am inspired by Madagascar’s unique biodiversity.

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

 Thank you, Madagascar: The Conservation Diaries of Alison Jolly by Alison Jolly is one of my favorite books. She describes her journeys as a researcher and conservationist over her many decades in Madagascar.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go, and why?

I would travel to Rwanda to see its rich biodiversity, including their many primate species.

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

I love whales, though I have yet to see one.

Why do you care about Madagascar and its wildlife?

Madagascar is a biodiversity hotspot and its wildlife is threatened by several pressures, including deforestation. Many species, especially lemurs, depend heavily on these disappearing forest habitats, so I am determined to help in any way I can.