Island of Lemurs: Madagascar is not just a movie title, it’s the perfect description of Madagascar. I haven’t seen the movie yet, but I can’t wait to see it and compare it to my experiences. I’ve been to Madagascar twice, and there is still so much more to see. Dr. Patricia Wright (who is featured in the movie and will be introducing the film at this special showing) invited us and planned a trip for docents in 2007.
Eleven of us were able to go. She showed us her beloved Ranomafana National Park with it’s golden bamboo lemurs, greater bamboo lemurs, Milne-Edwards’ sifaka, and mouse lemurs. I’m sure you will see all of these in the movie without the rainy hike through the forest. I can only guess as to the other lemurs that are featured in the movie, but I’m sure you will see some of my favorites. They come in a wide variety of sizes, colors and temperaments. I’ve only seen 15 of the over 100 species in the wild, including holding the smallest mouse lemur (as part of the research going on at ValBio at Ranomafana) and watching and listening to the largest lemurs, the Indris with their haunting calls. Being there once only made me want to return (which I did).
It’s hard to imagine just how many varied environments there are on an island only 1,000 miles long, but we saw spiny forests, coastline, rice fields, rivers, mountains, rain forests. Each has lemurs that take advantage of the particular food available.
We met the wonderful Malagasy people and listened to their music. We watched them weaving, and making paper with flowers pressed in it, farming, playing and breaking rocks down to gravel by hand. We saw children going to school, working in fields, laughing, playing and waving to us.
When you see this movie you will begin to understand the wonder and beauty of this land. By coming to this special viewing you will be helping these lemurs and the Seneca Park Zoo conservation efforts. If you choose to attend our 21-and-older Party Madagascar the following night at the Zoo, you will be helping even more. I hope to see you there.
- darlene Benzon, docent