Madagascar and Lemurs!
26 December 2008
By Norine Carroll
Local Malagasy pirogue/canoe.
We thought we could not exclude some scenic shots of this beautiful and tranquil island called Ile. Ste. Marie. The traditional pirogue watercraft, the Ocean, the warm and beautiful Malagasy people, the Indonesian style architecture. It is very difficult to take a bad picture here. There is something about this place. It is obvious why colonial peoples visited this place time and time again throughout the course of history.
Typical family house plot on Ill Ste. Marie.
I was lucky enough to be a part of the 2004 Serapis team, but I left the island and Madagascar with one disappointment: I did not get an opportunity to see a lemur! In fact, none of the team that year did. This year, however, our luck has changed, and we had the opportunity to visit Endemica Park, a small animal park that was set up on the island since we were here in 2004 that includes native flora and fauna to the Island of Ile. Ste. Marie and to Madagascar. What a treat! The park includes frogs, snakes, lizards, geckos, tortoise, chameleons, and 5 different varieties of lemurs. The most infamous were the "black and white" lemurs which proved to be the incessant lickers, mainly enjoying the "sweat of the humans" and especially enjoying Jason's inner ear. The other favorite was the bamboo lemur who was very attentive as long as you held out some tasty bamboo for it to nosh on.
Jason Burns and a friendly lemur.
The park also contains examples of some of the endemic orchids to Madagascar, as well as an example of the orchid which produces the vanilla bean. Vanilla is grown on Ile. Ste. Marie, as well as on the north east coast of mainland Madagascar. It smells absolutely delicious when fresh and is usually still moist here from recently being picked. In case you did not know, vanilla is grown from an orchid that needs to be hand pollinated, which makes it a very labor intensive commodity. Walk around this island and at any given time you may hear a "psst"..."Vanilla" from one the Malagasy.
Black and White Lemur.
Kelly Bumpass and a Bamboo Lemur.
The licking lemurs, who knew? It was quite an experience, and the park was an excellent learning adventure, with a very informative and knowledgeable guide who spoke excellent English. But just so you know, lemurs WILL NOT come up and lick you in the wild.
Please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any comments, questions, or suggestions during the weeks to come.
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