Over the centuries the Ankarana Massif has been home to at least 12 lemur species, reflecting the incredible ecological wealth and diversity of this small forest reserve. Yet almost no systematic biological work had been done there, until the Southampton University team (supported by the Oryx 100% Fund) visited Ankarana in 1981. Oryx published a report of this expedition in January 1987. A new team of nine British biologist–cavers, three doctors, two Malagasy palaeontologists, an entomologist and a botanist spent the end of the 1986 dry season (mid–August to mid–October) producing the first catalogue of the fauna and flora. The team rediscovered the rare white-breasted mesite, an endemic bird last seen at Ankarana in 1931 and known from only two other small areas in Madagascar; special efforts were also made to assess the conservation status of lemurs, bats and the Nile crocodiles, which have refuges there.