We have to spend an extra day in Tana before we can start our journey around the country. So we have to go and explore something in the city during the day. Walking around town doesn’t really seem like a very attractive option considering my short walk from yesterday which was really uninteresting. Instead we decide to go a bit to the outskirts of the city and have a look at some lemurs – after all the most famous animal of this giant island is the lemur which is found nowhere else on the planet.
A little out of town is a small park which has several different species of lemurs. The lemurs in the park are originally former pets – but over the years some of the pets have been replaced by the offspring’s of the pets. The park got a little breathing program going on and get some young every year they exchange some of the offspring’s with other parks and zoos to keep a healthy group of lemurs in the different parks around the island and possibly in other countries as well.
When we get to the park we have to wait a bit for a guide who will take us around the park and give some information about the plants in the park and the lemurs. The park is located in the country side down to a little river so the setting is pretty. The guide tells us the river is actually working as a border of the park since the lemurs are afraid of water and will not try to cross the river – so the park doesn’t need a fence on the side with the river. The lack of fence ensures the park doesn’t feel like an enclosed area but more like a place which is integrated with the surrounding countryside.
Unlike some other parks around the country this one is pretty decent. They haven’t trained the lemurs to jump on the shoulder of the visitors to get a bite of banana which is the case at many other parks. In this park you can only observe the lemurs without them jumping on to you. But the lemurs in the park is very well accustomed to humans so you can get close to the animals and observe them without touching.
The first lemurs we see are two different species of sifakas – the sifakas are also known as the dancing lemurs. The term dancing lemur comes from the way the sifakas are jumping around. After watching the dancing lemurs for a while they do start to jump in their specific sideways jump.
From the jumping lemurs we go to the next species of lemurs. It is the black and white ruffed lemur. There are a couple which sleeps right next to each other – apparently it is the offspring from last year. This species of lemurs are one of the few which actually get twins on a regular basis so the two cute lemurs are not a happy couple but siblings. It is getting close to the mating season for these lemurs which is pretty apparent in a male lemur which is a bit exhibitionistic really spreading his legs and displaying everything.
We continue walking around the park and next up is a little area with some bamboo. Inside the bamboo is a little grey lump – which is a bamboo lemur. The bamboo lemur is feeding mainly of the bamboo which has been growing on the island for millions of years – though the original bamboos are now partly being replaced by new introduced species of bamboo from Asia. The little lemur is a bit difficult to see since it is partly blocked by the dense bamboo.
Not far from the bamboo lemur are another couple of lemurs in a tree which is two mongoose lemurs sitting close together on a branch. They sit quietly on the branch not doing much so we don’t look at them too long. Instead we head past a little enclosure with some tortoises.
The last stop is next to a group of ring-tailed lemurs. They are quite lively and fun to watch so we stay with the ringtail for a while before we leave the park to take the drive back to the city through the traffic.