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I want to share some pics of one of the most fascinating continents: MADAGASCAR.

Yes, continent - after the split-off of Africa and later India it developed its own world of flora and fauna - unique in the world but fragile! The biggest part of the forest has been distroyed, several bigger lemur species extinct because of this loss of habitat and errosion and locust plagues are a serious problem this poor country has to deal with.

Go and visit this paradise before it is lost definitly - you will not regret it and be welcomed by some of the nicest and friendliest people in the world!

Travelling from the capital Tana by Taxi Brousse (24 things broken in 12 hours - including twice a tire and in the night the light) we arrived in a small fishing village on Lac Alouatra as some of the first white people. The only other European (in white pullover on the lower left pic) was making a primatology research there for years. His name is Thomas - thus we were all Thomas for the inhabitants (even the ladies) ;)

PS: the street fair is in the city with the nice name Ambatonbrazaka :)

Sifaka and Catta - the main two lemur species in the south of the country near Fort Dauphin. Although you can see cattas in all zoos in the world - in their original homeland they are endangered from extinction as all the other species and reduced to some national parks.


Driving through the North - Antsiranana area to visit the National parks of Montagne d'Ambre and Ankarana. Watch your dinner - The coronatus lemurs are little thieves! Unfortunatly in all these nights no Ayeaye or Fossa wanted to cross our way...


More Tsingi pictures in Ankarana and a market square in Antsiranana
 

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Wow, thanks so much for the little tour, Madagascar, because of it's poverty, is one of the most underrated country out there.

fascinating nature, of the most diverse population in the world.

I'd sure like to visit :)
 

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If you are from Paris, fly Madagascar Airlines - they are as good as Air France, are cheap and NEVER had an accident! Why? - They offered a buffalo on the inauguration flight ;) True!

Take some tickets in a combi-pack to travel the country. There is only one train line and for many days you don't want to sit in the taxi brousses even though it's an experience. BTW: everyone still speaks français, so no problem for communication. Dangerous is only the capital, the rest of the country is very safe and you rather get invited for dinner than cheated even though people indeed are poor.
 

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^^
Wooow, never expected that. I sure will go to Madagascar one time. Try my french and I hope they speak english too.
You shot such nice pictures, the beaches(with that boat), the nature, those monkeys!!!
I really need to visit this beautifull country.
 

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Thanks ;) With English you would have problems... Unfortunatly I don't have anymore Lemur pics than these. But we shot a lot (some we made posters and were published, but that's why I don't have them anymore :()

There is one tourist resort island called Nasi Be or the like in the North West. I avoided it for they said it's really the only touristic place with all the negative effects as prostitution, child abuses etc :( Maybe not Pataya, but for Madagascar not a too good place...
 

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Oh and by the way, as I mentioned, Madagascar is an extremaly diverse country, but what is the biggest ethnicity in the country?
 

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The people are a "mix" of expecially arabs, indians, Europeans and Africans. Since 400 years the country always has been used as a base for sailing and trading nations - and pirates ;)
 

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Kuesel said:
The people are a "mix" of expecially arabs, indians, Europeans and Africans. Since 400 years the country always has been used as a base for sailing and trading nations - and pirates ;)
You forgot the Malagasy, who originated in Indonesia. They are one of the biggest ethnic groups. I have always found it mind-boggling that the biggest ethnic group on this island just off Africa originated many thousands of miles away, apparently genetic research shows on the island of Borneo.

Most people are mixed though.

Its the sort of place I'd be fascinated to go to, but the Other Half loves his creature comforts too much ;)
 

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But the Malagasy are like the Brazilian Indios - ethnically mixed in the meantime with Arabic and French blood. That's why you call nowadays the whole pop "Malgache". But it is indeed very interesting that you feel much more like in Indonesia than in the close Mozambique ;)
 

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Paradise--- Isn't Madagascar a very common destination for tourists worldwide? I afraid it is not really a paradise now, with poverty from your pics.

I think countries which is the closest to tropical paradise is probably Brazil and the Guyanas--- never been to any of them but the dense forest is largely undisturbed. (Though large-scale deforestation taking place, the forest is so HUGE that is larger than Western Europe)
 

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But the title is Paradise LOST! I am aware of the problems - especially the ecological ones. The indri for example is the only big lemur that is not extinct, but only survives in a very small national park in the eastern center of the island. There were much more specias but deforestation took its toll. And there is the povertry coming in:

Madagascar has been a neglected French colony til the mid 60s. Afterwards one of the main trade partners was... Israel! But all just wanted woods (I think 75% of the forests are gone in the meantime), vanilla (not of great value for the people there but the main exportation good) and sisal, as well as since a few years gems. The latter is a huge social, ecological and high crime problem but is concentrated on the mountains in the south west.

I tell you, sometimes you could cry driving through the totally eroded landscapes - it's just DEAD! And because of the laterit soil there is no hope and possibility to reforestate again :( Unfortunatly Madagascar - a theoretically unique continent full of endemic species - is death-bound and all because of colonialism and exploitation in the wake of globalization! The people never will have a chance to industrialize or develop the country furthermore - there are just no interested international investors, infrastructure is nonexistent in lots of places and thus the only fate of the country is that it tries to survive without a chance of economical growth or development :(

Classical: I went there with primatologists. The malgasse universities and national parks are flooded with french scientists and on the other hand in France are a lot of malgasse researchers. But it's all about the "research" per se. Down there nearly no one really profits. This "original Thomas" was a single field worker on the lake and discovered and tried to protect a lemur species that only lives in Alouatra. As long as there was fish and a good harvest the locals helped him and really learned how to deal with their environment. Then came a 2 years dry season and hunger became a serious problem - result: the people started to hunt and eat these lemurs.

Povertry and the fight for survival is always stronger than sustainable development and planning the future. Thus the paradise is definitly lost if there is no miracle happening in the near future... :(
 

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THANKS FOR SHARING PICTURES OF A COUNTRY NOT VERY COMMON ON THIS FORUM.
PERSONALLY THIS IS MY FIRST TIME SEEEING PICTURES OF THIS COUNTRY.
 

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It's impressive... you drive half a day through the steppes and suddenly there is a huge karst wall blocking you - and like in the book the Lost World by Connan Doyle you expect some dinosaurs behind :lol: - It's not but there are caves you can cross through and even find some bones of extinct species. The climing is also worthwhile. The lake on the pic is from up there... The coronatus lemurs just jump as ibex on these very sharp stones (take some good boots!).

This picture shows more of the Tsingys but it's not from my but on the John Cleese page. Maybe you read the articles about the "new" Avahi lemur species that was named after the Python. I missed him personally in Madagascar by only a few months. But it was some of my friends who discovered the species and gave him the name for we were big Python fans and JC was doing a lot for making lemurs popular around the world and helped thus and personally to raise the protection funds ;)
 

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Kuesel said:
But the Malagasy are like the Brazilian Indios - ethnically mixed in the meantime with Arabic and French blood. That's why you call nowadays the whole pop "Malgache". But it is indeed very interesting that you feel much more like in Indonesia than in the close Mozambique ;)
From Wikipedia, quite interesting (regarding the Malagasy language)...

Malagasy (in French also: Malgache) is the westernmost member of the Austronesian language family, spoken on Madagascar, where it is an official language. The name Malagasy is also used to refer to the indigenous people of Madagascar, who make up some 36 tribes and are of mixed Indonesian and African descent.

Malagasy shares 90% of its basic vocabulary with Maanyan, a language from the region of the Barito River in southern Borneo. This is a result of the fact that the island was first settled from about 1,500 to 2,000 years ago by Indonesians, probably mostly from Borneo. Later, the original Indonesian settlers mixed with East Africans and Arabs, amongst others.


I just find it staggering that supposedly primitive tribespeople from Borneo managed to cross the vast Indian Ocean in significant enough numbers to settle Madagascar 2,000 years ago.

Another snippet:

Madagascar's population is predominantly of mixed Asian and African origin, though those who are visibly Asian in appearance and culture are the minority, found in the highland regions. Recent research suggests that the island was uninhabited until Malay seafarers arrived between about 2,000 to 1,500 years ago. Recent DNA research shows that the Malagasy are approximately of half Malay and half East African stock, although some Arab, Indian and European influence is present along the coast. The Malagasy language shares some 90% of its basic vocabulary with the Maanyan language from the region of the Barito River in southern Borneo.

Subsequent migrations from both the Pacific and Africa further consolidated this original mixture, and 36 separate tribal groups emerged. Asian features are most predominant in the central highlands people, the Merina (3 million) and the Betsileo (2 million); the coastal people (called côtiers) are of more clearly African origin.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Tubeman: thanks for the info - thus detailed I really didn't know it. But it's really interesting how 2000 years ago not only Phenecians were world wide sailors and traders. Thor Heyerdahl thus also proved the Polynesian settlements in South America.

The biggest research on Lemurs (for the ones that love these fluffies) is done by Duke University (unfortunatly they think they have the copyright on all lemur works and it's difficult to deal with them, but they are really big): http://primatecenter.duke.edu/animals/


These are the ones my ex-girlfriend studied for her phd work:
 
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