In May, part of the Rainforest Connection Team journeyed on long airplane flights to the island of Madagascar, off the east coast of Africa. Anna Mazzaro, Dorothy Stradford, Harry Lagerman (from Guatemala), Kay Kirby Dorji (from Bhutan), and Jackie and Greg Willis formed a diverse international group that banded together because of a mutual interest in wildlife. Furthermore, several lines of evolution became special groups found only in Madagascar.
These endemic species includes the lemurs, of which there are about 100 species ranging in size from mouse-size to the size of large monkeys. They are primates but have their own special behaviors and feeding requirements, and all are endangered by habitat loss and hunting. Madagascar is also home to a diverse group of lizards called chameleons, which have prehensile tails, long tongues that shoot out to catch insects, and eyes that can rotate in all directions. The group visited to see these chameleons and 20 species of lemurs as well as the diverse bird life. They were lucky enough to also see the predatory species called the fosa.
They joined a biologist colleague, Dr. Josia Razafindramanana, a native of Madagascar, on a month-long journey to visit many habitats and see as many species as possible and to learn about local cultures. Dr. Josia’s research will be highlighted in upcoming programs.