Madagascar bound, part IV: Homeward

August 12, 2012 — I am now sitting at my hotel in Antananarivo for my last night in Madagascar. I can’t believe I have been here for 3 months, 10 weeks of which was spent in a tent in the rainforest.

I’m not going to lie, this summer was difficult. The first day I entered Marojejy National Park back in May in the pouring rain while walking to my first research site, I thought I was crazy. Who in their right mind chooses to spend 3 months in an environment such as this? The first week was difficult, the rain was relentless, the bugs were everywhere and everything I owned was getting wet and dirty. But as time went on the rain became less noticeable, the hiking became easier, and I really began to enjoy myself. I enjoyed hiking everyday, I enjoyed lemur spotting, I enjoyed the other wildlife present, and I enjoyed the company that I had. The guides, park agents, cooks, and porters at Marojejy National Park are the best there is. They care about the forest, the lemurs, and the conservation of the area for years to come. They work day in and day out helping visitors see the beauty within the park, and it is inspiring. Having them around each and every day helping me to collect data pushed me through the hard work and taught me many lessons along the way. In addition, without the help of Manitra, the Malagasy student working with me, I would have struggled. He not only helped collect data but also accompanied me in town helping with the language barrier as he speaks French, Malagasy, and English. And, lastly, thanks to the drivers and others I met along the way. I know most of these people will not see this blog, but I hope they know the impact they had on my summer adventure!

As promised, I will include a couple of pictures I took of silky sifakas, which are among the rarest mammals in the world. During my last week in Sambava I went into Marojejy one last time to visit tourist camp 2. Dr. Erik Patel is currently working on a territoriality and scent-marking study of the silky group living near camp 2, so he has a group tracking them everyday. Because of this a silky sighting was guaranteed! Though it was raining I followed the group for a day and here are a couple pictures! (sorry – it was foggy!)

— Jennifer Moore