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Madagascar's Most Famous Residents

April 02, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 141

Its wealth of diverse and unique wildlife is one of the main reasons that visitors flock to Madagascar. Wildlife holidays on the African island are at or near the top of 'must see' lists for anyone passionate about the flora and fauna that we share the planet with. The history of the island has plenty to do with this.

When the sprawling, prehistoric super-continent of Gondwanaland began to break up, what is now known as Madagasikara to its residents was left alone in the sea, sealing the island's isolation. This meant that prehistoric plants and animals developed along their own path with little outside interference on isolated Madagascar. Wildlife holidays to the island are the best way to catch a glimpse of its unique creatures, including the island's most famous residents, the Lemurs.

Intrepid Lemurs

Although a type of primate that has evolved in the glorious isolation of the island, the Lemur is a later arrival. The island broke away from the rest of the land around 160 million years ago, but zoologists believe that Lemurs first appeared in continental Africa around 62 million years ago. The most popular hypothesis regarding how the animals made it to the island remains biological dispersion due to random rafting events; essentially this means that the animals were carried on matted reeds swept on ocean currents all the way to Madagascar. Wildlife holidays take a special interest in these creatures now that they no longer exist anywhere else on the planet.

Finding Lemurs Today

The creatures can be found in various regions around Madagascar. Wildlife holiday operators are probably the best people to enlist the help of, as they will have close contact with the local populations and know the very best places for spotting these incredible animals. Although the Lemurs are found in numerous places around the island, the local eco-system is carefully protected, and it is strongly discouraged for tourists to head off on their own in search of the famous local wildlife.

A Lemur for Every Occasion

Having had the run of the land to themselves for so many years, Lemurs have spread across the island filling the landscape in every available niche with cheerful abandon. They range in size from the large Indri (which can reach nearly 120 cm when fully stretched out), to the tiny Mouse Lemurs. Lemur-watching excursions take place in the island's top reserves, including Ranomafana, Andasibe and the spiny forests around Ifaty. One of the popular experiences for those visiting the Lemur populations is the famous 'dawn chorus' from the Indri population in Perinet, often described as 'whale-song in the trees'.

Marissa Ellis-Snow is a freelance nature writer. If you're looking for a Madagascar wildlife holiday, Naturetrek specialise in expert-led natural history and wildlife tours worldwide. Naturetrek bring over 25 years of experience to a Madagascar wildlife holiday and other spectacular regions on Earth.

Source: EzineArticles
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