Indri-indri (babakoto) “Father of the Forest”.
We are heading to Madagascar, searching for some of the natural wonders of this unique Island. Exploring this enchanting continent to marvel at its unique Baobabs, Singing Lemurs and endemic birds, one being the Helmet Vanga. All our research and learning are hopefully about to become a real-life experience. Capturing and documenting some wonderful images and videos along the way. We hope that by sharing our experiences, we can expose the plight of both the people as well as the Fauna and Flora of Madagascar. To say we are excited is an understatement; we are literally counting the sleeps.
Madagascar is sometimes called the earth’s eighth continent because its wildlife is unique. Among the several reasons for its extraordinary assemblages of flora and fauna is a long period of isolation; the island split away from Africa about 165 million years ago and reached its current position some 80 million years ago. Another contributing factor is the combination of random colonisation from Africa and speciation from a small population of founders. As a result, more than 80 per cent of the wildlife is endemic, including mammals such as lemurs and a host of fascinating reptiles and amphibians.
Madagascar’s endemic fauna and flora have made this island a world-famous and popular destination. This cyclone-battered land has shaped a territory of extraordinary beauty and diversity. The standard theory to explain what made this island such a unique haven for its endemism was that Gondwana was the key. Gondwana, the southern supercontinent, which, so scientists believe, once embraced in single land mass what we now know as South America, Africa, India, Antarctica, and Australasia. It was here in the centre of Gondwana, in Madagascar, that these endemic species evolved.
The only island in the world with a Pirate Cemetery, this is synonymous and appropriate with everything on Madagascar, especially its unique Fauna and Flora.
Referred to as the eighth continent, Madagascar’s windswept land, rich in iron oxides, has earned its name as the Bleeding or Red Island. This is because local slash-and-burn farming practices have destroyed almost 90% of the original indigenous forest. In addition, the rainy season erodes the baron land, and the rivers wash the red soil into the sea. The soil erosion is so severe that this phenomenon can be observed from space (Betsiboka River Delta, on the North West Coast)ng to Madagascar, and we will be searching for some of the natural wonders of this unique island.
We will be exploring this magical island to marvel at its unique Baobabs, Lemurs, and endemic birds like the Helmet Vanga. All the learning is hopefully about
Madagascar counts 103 species of lemurs, of which 85 per cent are threatened. The diversity between the species is vast, for example, regarding their size: the smallest weighs 30 grams, and the largest can reach 10 kilos. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature has classified them according to the level of threat of extinction for each: critically endangered, endangered, vulnerable, near threatened, and least concern.
Madagascar’s lemurs, native only to the island, are among the most seriously threatened creatures. Deforestation and poaching very often. Represent the most severe threats. Today, only 10 per cent of Madagascar’s original forest still remains.
The conservation of these species calls for a commitment by all. Government officials are now often asked to take measures aimed at the preservation of various species of lemurs and have declared all lemurs as protected, establishing National Parks, Strict Nature Reserves and Special Reserves where lemurs can flourish. In addition to campaigns in the media, traditional community leaders, who play an essential role in Malagasy society and to whom people are often more likely to listen, are now very much involved in regards creating
History can remind us that the species of Megaladapis, which disappeared about 500 years ago, were the most giant lemurs to be found in Madagascar, sometimes reaching between 1.3 metres and 1.5 metres in height and weighing between 40 and 80 kilos. But, of course, there is still time to act and fight against the extinction of today’s species.
The Babakoto, The Biggest indri-indri,
These diurnal lemurs are vegetarian and the largest of the lemurs. The Indri Indri can only be found in the tropical forest east of the island. It is known for its screech, to be heard in the morning, enabling it to mark its territory. Its weight varies from 7 to 10 kilos, and it can reach a height of 70cm. The Indri Indri only has a very short tail. It is black and white and lives in groups of 2 to 5 individuals.