21 February 2012

A last look for lemurs

Our itinerary change meant that we had a couple days to explore a little further for lemurs. So we headed east again, using Grace Lodge inthe village of Andaribe as a base. On the way, we stopped at a private reserve where we were able to see these brown and white lemurs at close range.

By this point I admit I was feeling travel-weary so I took a down day while Rob hiked with Dorique and a local guide in the nearby park.  We have some work to do on naming the lemur species accurately, but here are some wonderful shots, courtesy do Dorique (who quite enjoyed using my Lumix FZ150 with its 24x zoom).

Yes, that is Rob with a lemur on his head!  Rob and Dorique went to Lemur Island which is a sanctuary for orphaned lemurs that truly is an island. 

The lemurs are fed so they cannot be returned to the wild, but they are breeding successfully which does help protect their numbers.  It's better than no action at this point, but our travels in Madagascar revealed one painful truth: natural habitat for all wild animals is being eliminated at a catastrophic rate on this island.  The protected forests that remain are critical to the survival of these intriguing and unique primates, but they too are under threat.  Mining, farming, logging for charcoal production and fires (both natural and deliberate) all impact on the viability of the forests and the creatures who inhabit them.

We feel blessed that we were able to come and experience rural life, the animals and even the environmental complexities of Madagascar.  Below, Grace Lodge in the morning mist will stay with us as a parting image.



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