Former Huntingdon woman uncovers new species in Madagascar
A FORMER Huntingdon school pupil has helped discover what could be a new species while exploring the wilds of south western Madagascar. Louise Jasper, 27, who attended St Peter s School before studying psychology and zoology at Bristol University, helped
A FORMER Huntingdon school pupil has helped discover what could be a new species while exploring the wilds of south western Madagascar.
Louise Jasper, 27, who attended St Peter's School before studying psychology and zoology at Bristol University, helped in the discovery of a giant mouse lemur.
She was on a night mission for World Wildlife Fund (WWF) with her fianc� Charlie Gardner, 31, monitoring biodiversity in the forest of Ranobe when spotted the creature.
Most types of giant mouse lemurs, weigh about 300grams (11oz) and are nocturnal, have shrinking populations.
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However, the one spotted by Miss Jasperis not like any others that have been seen.
Speaking about the her discovery to The Hunts Post via e-mail from Madagascar, Miss Jasper said: "Charlie and I were on a night walk along a brook searching for chameleons and other wildlife, and Charlie spotted some eyes shine high up in a fig tree hanging over the water.
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"We investigated further, noticed it was bigger and behaving very differently compared to the far more common mouse lemurs, so I quickly snapped a few photographs.
"When we got back to camp and had a closer look at the photographs we instantly noticed it looked different to the "official" description of the giant mouse lemur."
The colouring is different, which suggests not only a new population but a new species or subspecies, she said.
For the past four years, Miss Jasper has been living in Toliara and working with WWF, Madagascar National Parks and ReefDoctor.
Miss Jasper, whose parents, John and Carol live in St Peter's Road, Huntingdon, added: "We are now waiting to find out for sure if it is a new species. It would be a massive boost for the protected area [of rainforest] if it is.