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Blog by MBP Volunteer, Julia


Microcebus_rufus_Ranomafana_Eating_Banana_1Even between four vazaha (foreigners) and two guides, the first half hour of our walk revealed no lemurs at all. Undiscouraged, knowing that we had plenty of time and plenty of forest left to cover, we turned our lamps down instead towards the ground.

It was disappointing at first. I was surrounded by a chorus of “ooh!”s and “wow!”s. Sheila and Adam took out their cameras and started snapping away at the treetops. “Where are you looking, guys, seriously?” only earned me a flurry of pointing and incomprehensible explanations: see that branch? Right there?- no, or rather, I see tons of branches, none of which seem to have amazing rare primates clinging to them. I couldn’t help but pout a little. Apparently I’m blind to cool animals that are immediately apparent to everybody else.

It took only a minute or so more, before suddenly, like one of those magic eye puzzles that leap into three dimensions when you focus just right, a lemur seemed to materialize before my very eyes. It had, in fact, been right there all along. Dusty brown and still, I couldn’t really blame myself for having overlooked her. Sitting on a branch with her long hind legs folded up like a frog’s, blending seamlessly into her chosen perch, was a woolly lemur.

We stayed to admire her for several minutes as she slowly clambered from one branch to the next, ultimately stopping on a branch overhanging the path that afforded a great photo opportunity. Unfortunately, my camera doesn’t play nice with weird lighting, nighttime, and distant subjects- all my photos are a blur. This picture of Microcebus rufus taken at Ranomafana is courtesy of Dr. Louis.

Our second nocturnal lemur find was not long after, this time a tiny, darting mouse lemur. I didn’t get as good of a glimpse at these, even though we encountered two or three throughout the night, simply due to their minuscule size and swiftness. They darted nervously through the branches, visible only as a flash of fur or a glimpse of that uncanny orange eye-shine, going about their nocturnal business.