Tulear, Madagascar

A mouse Lemur which we saw at Tulear Arboretum

We visited two arboretum in Tulear. The content of both was much the same in trees - I suspect it was to give business to both enterprises, though the second one did do lemur rehabilitation work with rescued lemurs

Anyway we were fortunate to see a mouse lemur high in a tree. Mouse lemurs have a combined head, body and tail length of less than 11 inches, making them the smallest primates; however, their weight fluctuates in response to daylight duration. Lemurs and Mouse Lemurs were announced by the IUCN as the most endangered of all vertebrates. There were about 24 mouse lemur species identified by 2016. There were only 2 mouse lemur species known in 1992. It was estimated that the 24 mouse lemur species evolved from a common ancestor 10 million years ago.

Arboretum d'Antsokay

The arboretum lies about 12km southeast of town. Essentially a 400,000-sq-metre distillation of the entire spiny forest in one place, it's a fantastic collection of 900 plant species. Established by a Swiss botanist and conservationist in 1980, it's also a model for how much-larger parks should be run. There's an interpretation centre, a small museum, shop, self-guided tours in English, and a restaurant.

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A curiosity was an Elephant Bird egg in their small museum. Elephant birds were once a common sight on Madagascar. They weighed at least half a tonne, stood at around 3m tall and laid giant eggs, which were bigger even than those of the dinosaurs. The elephant birds, Aepyornis and Mullerornis, lived among other remarkable species on the island, including giant lemurs, which also died out. There are a number of theories about why and when this happened, and how much humans were involved. The birds had massive legs, taloned claws and a long, powerful neck

The Elephant Bird was much bigger than an ostrich, and its eggs was the size of 100 hen's eggs



Reniala Lemur Rehabilitation

They try to rehabilitate lemurs that have been rescued from the pet trade. Founded in 1998, Reniala is a franco-malagasy environmental NGO operating in the South West of Madagascar. Reniala’s activities are the conservation of bio diversity, scientific research, the development of local economy and finally people education to protect lemurs, the very unique symbol of Madagascar. Reniala reserve and Lemur Rescue Centre, based in Mangily, 27 km from Tulear. Reniala reserve opened its doors to the public in 2001 and is now a reference in ecotourism destination with its ornithological and nocturnal visits within the 60 hectares of botanical trail.

As with rehabilitation centres for other animals that we have seen across the world, the numbers of animals that they have released to the wild is vanishingly small.

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A number of women in the area paint their face with a tobacco paste in order to keep their skin paler

By the time we got back to the Zodiacs, the wind and tide were up, and it was a long wet ride back to the Discoverer

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On to Andavadoaka

Silver Discoverer from Maputo to Seychelles