Going to the overlooked park to spot indri

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It is a pretty awful weather this morning. I guess the weather in eastern Madagascar deviate a lot from the weather patterns of the rest of the island. So the easterly winds from the Indian Ocean carries a lot of moist air into the forest of the east where it pours down over the rainforest.
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I get to the office of a small park called Parc Mitsinjo – it isn’t a national park but the local community run the park and the money you pay go to maintaining the park and improving the life of the community so they will be happy to keep the forest alive instead of cutting it down to provide firewood for their stoves to cook their meals.

It is a lot cheaper to visit this park than the national park which is actually just across the street from this one. Despite the significant difference in the price for admission the park only has a fraction of the number of visitor compared to the national park. Indeed I am the first visitor of the day.
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We start walking into the park to spot the indri. It takes a while but on the way we spot a little gecko on the way. The disadvantage of this park being so little visited is the guides can’t really share the information about where to spot the indri – since nobody else has been here to spot it today. So it takes a bit more searching to find the indri – fortunately we got a spotter walking ahead into some steep and slippery parts of the park to find the indri. After a while we find the indri and walk off the trial and into the actually forest to see the indri. With all the rain the hill is very slippery and you really have to take care not to slip when you are walking around inside the forest. Fortunately I don’t slip and find a spot from where I can take photos of the indri up in the tree.

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The guide has brought some leaves along – and now he starts calling the indri and waves the leaves so the indri can spot them. The indri doesn’t seem to want to go down – it is curled up trying to stay warm in the rain. But the guide is very persistent. It takes a long time but finally the male indri come down from the top of the tree and starts eating the leaves. The guide is feeding the indri by hand and after a while he asks if I want to give it a couple of leaves. I guess I might as well and the indri reaches out to take leave from my hand. It has a very soft hand when it takes the leave. The indri finish off the last of the leaves and then it race back to the top of the tree.

We leave the indri behind and walk down to a little lake. There isn’t much around here and it is starting to rain more heavily so we manage to find some cover and wait for a while. After a little wait the rain is getting less and we go out and find a couple of chameleons hanging around in the trees next to the lake. After seeing the chameleons we walk out the park.


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