Madagascar Music. The musical rhythm of Madagascar’s Verreaux’s sifaka lemur when they decend to the ground. On the ground their bipedal locomotion of hops and leaps are as magical as the country itself.
Madagascar is a mission, plain and simple. It is a mission to travel to, a mission to get around, and a now a mission to save.
It’s estimated that 160 years ago the island of Madagascar split away from the mainland of Africa and the island developed it’s very own ecosystems and amazing wildlife.
Approximately 95 percent of Madagascar’s reptiles, 89 percent of its plant life, and 92 percent of its mammals exist nowhere else on Earth. the world’s fifth largest island.
The island harbors lush rain forests, tropical dry forests, plateaus and deserts.
Its more than 3,000 miles of coastline and over 250 islands are home to some of the world’s largest coral reef systems and most extensive mangrove areas in the Western Indian Ocean.
Nothing is even remotely simple in the most wildlife diverse country on the planet. I have been very fortunate to have spent almost 5 weeks on this magical island, these are my favourite images.
Madagascar Dreaming. Ringtail lemurs are the sun-worshipers of Madagascar.
This curious Ringtail came to see what I was doing and then fell fast asleep in the sun. Did you know that lemurs have sweat glands in their wrists?
They love to sunbathe and can often be seen sitting, arms open with their wrists outwardly a little like a meditation pose, the sweat glands on the wrist are then open to the air, warming in the sun without overheating.
There are over 100 species of lemur, from a tiny Madame berthe’s mouse lemur, which has an average body weight of 30g right up to the largest, the indri, that weighs in at about 6-9.5kg.
Madagascar is the only place that lemurs naturally call home. Did you know that Lemurs have a female dominated social society which the dominant female will enforce, sometimes quite fiercely if they need to.
Do lemurs have blue eyes? Blue irises are rare in primates other than humans. Blue eyes are the blue-eyed black lemurs, sometimes called Sclater’s lemurs. The blue-eyed black lemur is one of the most threatened lemur species, listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List of threatened species, with numbers decreasing.
Lemurs are capable of self-medication and Red-fronted brown lemurs eat millipedes to get rid of gastrointestinal parasites, such as worms.
They are also great at pollination and spreading seeds as they scavenge for food and poop the seeds out. Did you know that lemurs are the oldest living primates.
Coconuts on Madagascar
Peeling coconuts at the roadside markets in the photograph.
But Coconuts are not a native plant on all tropical islands, they are usually introduced my mankind on discovering many of the tropical islands many years ago.
Brought along on ships as a good source of food and water. coconut palms now adorn the coasts of tropical beaches everywhere, from the Caribbean to Madagascar and Hawaii, the tree is not a native species there.
Malagasy people honor their ancestors by removing their bones from the tombs and rewrap them in new shrouds in an exhumation ceremony called Famadihana “The Turning Of The Bones.”
The Rice Fields
The largest employment industry on the island is the agricultural sector. Rice is the main produce and main export crop of Madagascar.
It is mainly planted in a terraced paddy system in the central highlands.
Other major subsistence crops include cassava, corn, and sweet potato, while coffee, cloves, vanilla and other cash crops are exported.
Secondly is the livestock industry, zebu account for most of the cattle, while pigs, sheep and poultry are also raised.
Fishing is popular, and aquaculture has grown in importance.
In the photo here, the toughest negotiator in Madagascar.
She stood smack in front of one of the most beautiful baobabs on the island and only would move for cash U.S. I refused to negotiate.
She made as many faces as possible at me until I finally caught one when she didn’t think I was looking.