The Vulnerability of the Night Stalker

Student: Anthony Krueger (William O. Douglas Honors College)

Mentor: Anne Cubile

Abstract

In some parts of Madagascar, particularly the Marolambo district, there’s fables and myths regarding a mysterious creature that lurks through forests at night, seeking small, unguarded children that it may devour. It’s been told that this Night Crawler, if caught and eaten, will pass on horrendous attributes to the one who consumed him. These attributes include constant greediness and fierce aggression. Of course, this malicious entity is no entity at all, but rather a misunderstood animal that has developed a web of legends and fables revolving around its mysteriousness. This animal is the Cryptoprocta Ferox, or commonly known as the fossa. Fossas are a fascinating animal with unique histories in subjects such as mythology and taxonomy. However, the fossa’s population levels have drifted into a vulnerable state given the dangerous factors that come with being native to the Madagascar rainforests, such as deforestation, harmful human involvement, and intense natural disasters. Animal conservation in terms of saving the fossas may come in several forms, such as more research on the species, a hunting ban, or maybe a method a bit more drastic such as species reintroduction. Saving the fossas is key in sustaining the biodiversity levels in Madagascar. Biodiversity is necessary for an ecosystem to be resilient, elastic, and to maintain its ecological function. Without proper biodiversity, specifically when speaking of the fossa population, the entire food chain may be thrown off its delicate balance, thus affecting ecosystem dynamics. For example, the declining state of the fossa may result in overgrazing by some of its prey species which can create a whole different set of problems for Madagascar, a country already in very poor conditions.

Presentation

2 thoughts on “The Vulnerability of the Night Stalker”

  1. Christopher Schedler

    Do you think stories (in mythology, literature, film) have a role to play in environmental activism (for example, to save endangered species)? Can such stories have an impact outside the context of the local culture/environment?

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