Perhaps you’ve heard of lemurs?

Ring-tailed Lemurs!

Ring-tailed lemur or "lemur catta" in a Malagasy national park

Ring-tailed lemur or “lemur cata” in a Malagasy national park

In North America, when we hear about Madagascar I think that often one of our first thoughts is of lemurs!  Well, I am happy to say- there really are lemurs in Madagascar!  I had an unusual opportunity to go and see lemurs.  I am calling it “unusual” because many, even most, people in Madagascar have never seen a lemur.  The lemurs are found in national parks and zoos around the country.

Ring-tailed lemur habitat - Andringita National Park

Ring-tailed lemur habitat – Andringita National Park

Parks and zoos have entrance fees and most people are both not able to pay for a taxi to go out of town to visit a national park (because most people do not have cars or other motorized vehicles) and then also families are often not able to afford the entrance fees for parks and zoos- as high as 10,000 Ariary for one person. (For example, a “porter”- man who carries charcoal or any other item for sale, earns about 1,100 Ariary per day; a teacher earns about 12,000 Ariary per day; a pastor earns about 13,000 Ariary per week that they lead in worship) As such, many to most people who I have met who are from Madagascar have not ever seen a lemur of any kind.

One of the families who lives just across the courtyard from me has a vehicle and was going to a national park.  They invited me along and I was delighted to go with them!  On the appointed morning, the parents, their five children, and I climbed into their car and drove almost two hours away from Fianarantsoa to the national park of Andringita.  It cost 5,900Ar in entrance fees for all of us; then also 31,000 Ar for a required guide to show us around.  We parked our car and walked about twenty meters into from the car to the trees of the forest.  It was just a few steps into the forest that our guide pointed upwards- LEMURS!

Forrest walking among the lemurs

Forrest walking among the lemurs

Right there, barely into the trees, was a family of ring-tailed lemurs.  Several of them were sleeping, but the ones who were awake hopped from tree-top to tree-top!  As we walked through the forest we heard lemur calls, saw several families of ring-tailed lemurs in the trees and hopping side-ways along the ground.

Ring-tailed lemurs hopping along the ground

Ring-tailed lemurs hopping along the ground

I was awe-struck by these unique and interesting animals as were the members of the family who I had joined on the outing!  What an incredible world we live in!

Lemur mother and 1 month-old baby

Lemur mother and 1 month-old baby

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5 thoughts on “Perhaps you’ve heard of lemurs?

  1. I love lemurs! But we saw them everywhere… Antananarivo, side of the road, on some cliffs… They seemed to be everywhere…

    • Hi Sean, I thought that was the case from pictures I saw of your trip. However, it seems that lemurs only live in designated places or in wild forests along the railway tracks now. I have been told that lemurs found in the city have been caught and brought there.

  2. In the 1960s I met a California couple who had two Lemurs as domestic animals. He told me that the lemur is related to the racoon of North America.
    Bill Pender of Fort Macleod, Alberta, Canada

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