Fosa / Fossa
ft. Asia Murphy
When not tweeting about Kylo Ren and pondering the ecological impact of porgs to the galaxy, Asia Murphy lives up to her title as Twitter’s camera trap queen.
“Trail camera data is really versatile. I can figure out how many animals are in an area, when animals are active, what habitat they are using, and how they share the landscape with other species.”
In addition, she also shares photographs from her fieldwork on her personal site, aptly named Anati’ala, Malagasy for “inside the forest.”
“Whether we’re talking about handheld photography or trail cameras, they both get me excited because pictures are something you can share with others, and I find a lot of people like the idea of seeing animals in their most secret moments.”
This is why she is known for the hashtag #fosafriday, through which she shares trail camera pictures of a little-known mammal from Madagascar.
“I’ve always wanted to work with carnivores, but wolves were overdone, cats were kind of boring, and I don’t really like bears. I never thought of the other types of carnivores like weasels, mongeese, civets, and euplerids — which are Madagascar’s carnivores — until I learned about the fosa in 2012.”
It’s no surprise not many people have heard of fosa. Its entire family, the euplerids, exist solely on the island. They’re the living testament to Madagascar’s unique biodiversity, where evolution took its own trajectory after the island split from India’s landmass about 88 million years ago.
In its own home range, the housecat-sized predator is feared and hated for preying on livestock. Asia thinks otherwise and is determined to raise people’s awareness through social media. “They check all the boxes: really cool predator, ferocious, but underestimated and understudied.”
In an age when human influence is increasingly affecting wildlife, she thinks it’s important to keep people engaged in scientific projects. She said, “We’re fucking up our environment and it’s going to come back and bite us in the ass soon enough.”