Whilst studying veterinary studies at the University of Antananarivo, Zoavina Randriana contacted Luke Dollar, who was leading Earthwatch’s Carnivores of Madagascar project, expressing her interest in wildlife conservation, and wondering how she could get involved. She was awarded an Earthwatch McCrae fellowship and joined the team, where she went from handling domestic animals to capturing and releasing wild ones.
Particularly interested in the elusive fossa, a cat-like carnivore native to Madagascar, she worked closely with the Earthwatch team to gain insights into the under-researched animals.
“Not many Malagasy vets work in wildlife activities and conservation, they do more rural activities instead. To have opportunities like this Earthwatch expedition allowed me to see for myself what conservation really is. I had the opportunity to live so close to the park, to nature, and I realised why I need to protect this beautiful nature which belongs to me, to the Malagasy people. I saw it, now I understand, and I will help my own.”
Zoavina went on to study a Master’s in Conservation at The University of Oxford, and is now in-country director of Madagascar-based NGO the Mad Dog Initiative.