Perinet …

Andasibe-Mantadia National Park is on the eastern edge of the central highlands and is firmly ensconced on the tourist itinerary for a combination of reasons. It can be reached by a good road from Antananarivo, it offers a very good chance of seeing Indri and boasts good accommodation. Most tourists won’t actually make it into the Mantadia section of the park because the road is a monster and is reportedly getting worse for lack of maintenance. Instead they will spend their time either in the Analamazaotra Reserve or at Vakona which has a population of lemurs established on Lemur Island.

The lodge at Vakona (pronounced Vakoona, there is no short O sound in Malagasy) is surrounded by a mature eucalypt forest that could have been snatched from somewhere in the Australian Great Divide. Up the hill, out of picture to the left is a stand of what looks remarkably like Eucalyptus regnans. There are no Lyrebirds but instead Paradise Flycatchers, Crested Drongos, Vasa Parrots and Sunbird-Asitys.

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The Analamazaotra Reserve is secondary forest on the hills with overgrown abandoned fish ponds and rice paddies in the valley. Local guides must be hired and they will repay you by finding Chameleons and Leaf-tailed Geckos that you would otherwise walk right past. During the morning the Indri proclaim their territories by call, which carries a huge distance, when you are close up you can understand why. I found this example on youtube …

I found it very evocative.

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In the past there were much larger lemurs but the Indri is the largest of the extant prosimians. They live in small family groups consisting of a male and female in a longterm monogamous relationship and their offspring. Females reach sexual maturity between the ages of 7–9 years and then bear offspring every two to three years. They feed mainly on leaves but will also eat seeds, fruits, and flowers. They are critically endangered largely due to habitat destruction.

Andasibe-Mantadia National Park is also home to another ten lemur species including Diademed Sifaka …

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Black and white Ruffed Lemur …

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and for an overload of cute, the Eastern Lesser Bamboo Lemur …

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