Trip to Kirindy national park hosting lemurs and other endemic animals in the dry forest
16 June 2013
National Park Kirindy is located in the region of Morondava, Madagascar
west-central, and hosts a xerophytic deciduous forest (xerophytic means
" life in the dry " as the plants have adapted to survive long periods
of drought, while deciduous means that the plants lose their leaves
cyclically as happens to us in the fall, which in turn provides the
perfect home for various species of reptiles, lemurs and other mammals
,unique in the world.
Photo of a deciduous forest. The term "xerophytic deciduous forest" refers to an ecosystem of plants able to survive long periods of drought (xerophytic = plant that lives in dry environment), while “deciduous plants “means that they lose their leaves during the winter, when temperatures are lower and rainfall is reduced to a minimum.
Kirindy is a protected area that is located in the central-western Madagascar, not far from the town of Morondava, home to just this type of forest, where low bushes, trees or even baobab (mainly Adansonia rubrostipa) form a dense network of branches, sometimes impenetrable..
Baobab trees with intertwined trunks
The fruit of the baobab tree, from the plant to the ground. They are rich in vitamin C and used for human food and livestock. They are also eaten by some species of lemur.
This tree is locally called " crocodile tree " for its bark which resembles the leathery skin of this reptile. The bark is used in order to produce medicated compresses against the toothache.
Kirindy pictures. This shrub is used instead to produce a drink similar to tea, after infusion in boiling water.
Madagascar has dozens of different species of snakes, none of which are dangerous to humans.
Photo of a mongoose.
The forest of Kirindy is home to several species of birds in the picture to the right, a crested Coua.
Photo of a crested drongo (Dicrurus forficatu
) a bird endemic to Madagascar and the Comoros Islands.
A nice tree frog the size of about 3 cm
Photo of a white lemur. One of the species of lemur in the forest Kirindy is the Verreaux's sifaka (Propithecus verreauxi) commonly called white lemur and known as "dancing lemur" for his habit of walking on the ground shifting horizontally, as for this movement it uses only the hind legs.
This white lemur seems surprised for the plenty of fallen fruit. The black lemur is vegetarian and feeds on leaves, buds, fruits and flowers.
Photo of a sifaka. The white lemur is medium in size and has a soft thick fur. And it is endemic of Madagascar and classified by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) as "Vulnerable" because of the deforestation that plagues its limited distribution area. For its eating habits, it is very difficult to be preserve in captivity outside Madagascar.
Some white lemurs do stunts in the branches, with an incredible skill.
White lemur in meditation
Photos of white lemurs . As evening comes, the white lemurs took refuge on top branches of the baobab, where they will spend the night sleeping.
Once they have found a good place to spend the night, these white lemurs curl up and go to sleep
The red-fronted lemur (Eulemur rufifrons
) is another inhabitant of the Kirindy forest and it can be found in many high areas of Madagascar, so much so that it is not a species considered particularly at risk, at least for the moment..
Photo of a red-fronted lemur. Rufifrons Eulemur
is medium size and it is a diurnal animal. As in the case of the sifaka, it is vegetarian and feeds on leaves, buds, fruits and flowers.
The red-fronted lemur, sometimes improperly called "brown lemur" or "brown lemur", has a thick fawn-colored fur.
Photos of red-fronted lemurs. As many other species of lemur, also the Eulemur rufifrons has a beautiful tail, usually longer than the body, very useful for balance when it jumps on the trees. .
The very elegant face of a red-fronted lemur
Some red-fronted lemurs struggling with berries on the foliage of a tree
A Microcebus, one of the smallest lemurs (and primates) in the world
In the time from late afternoon to early morning the next day, you can observe various nocturnal lemurs such as sportive or lepilemure weasel lemur (picture above) and the small ring-tailed squirrel (picture on the left) lemur. .
The evening falls on the forest Kirindy and some big spider apparently threatening but totally harmless begin to appear
Photo of Madagascar fossa. Madagascar Fossa (Cryptoprocta ferox) is a fearsome carnivore endemic to Madagascar, at the top of the food chain. It feeds on lemurs as well as other mammals and birds, and it sometimes do attack man. It 's a rare animal, spread mainly in Kirindy forest , and spotting him is quite difficult. The animal is classified as "Vulnerable" because of the moderate range of distribution and human activities.
Photo of mouse lemur. During the night makes its appearance in the tiny Microcebus berthae, known as "mouse lemur" or mouse lemur of Madame Berthe, one of the smallest lemurs in the world. Unfortunately, because of its limited distribution area, the Kirindy forest of southwestern Madagascar, the animal is classified as "critically endangered".
I run into a Paroedura pictus, a nocturnal gecko that lives on the ground on the substrate of dry leaves, whose livery reproduces the plot confusing predators.
Finally I see a nocturnal lemur belonging to the Phaner family , characterized by the front with two black stripes above the eyes.
A Kirindy accommodation in this fixed tented camp, where there is great comfort despite being so simple.
After many hours spent walking in the forest of Kirindy, a quick lunch of potatoes and zebu meat
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English translation by Lorena Anzani.