Since I last wrote I reached the milestone of 50 days living in the Malagasy jungle! I am having the best time, I feel like I could easily live here for a year. Or two. This trip is flying by way too fast for my liking.
Over the past two weeks a lot of exciting things have happened. When I was out with my guides in Sangasanga, I noticed one of the female Varecia behaving a bit weirdly. She was breaking sticks off of the tree she was in with her hands, then carrying them up high in the tree in her mouth. It turns out she had just started building a nest! This is super exciting, as it means that at least one of the females must be pregnant, something that only happens every couple of years. Babies can be born anywhere between August and November, so fingers crossed some are born before I leave.
At the start of week 6 my role officially changed to assisting with the Prolemur simus research. This meant no more long days chasing after my guides up Vatovavy. I really do miss Varecia though, there’s something special about trekking up a huge mountain and getting your first glimpse of them high in the trees.
Being on team simus has been fantastic. My new guides are Hery, Theoluc, Mamy, Rasolo, and Marolahy, and are all really lovely. There are 5 different locations, each with its own group of lemurs. They have the best names, like Drake, Cupid, Jupiter and Jane.
Because it is baby season, each morning we split up into two groups, and do ‘Baby Watch’ at each location – trying to find all the females and see who has given birth. I was lucky enough to be on the team that saw the first baby of the season. Since then there’s been heaps more born – almost every female was pregnant!
After Baby Watch, we do a 4 hour follow of an individual lemur, rather than the 2 hour follows we were doing with Varecia. This has been a lot of fun. There’s also a lot more individuals, up to 10 per group, so you get to see a lot more interaction between them – grooming, cuddling, fighting, playing – they’re really entertaining to watch.
On our weekends we went and watched the local football teams play in a nearby village, went to a church service in Kianjavato, and most excitingly, went to a concert! Madagascar’s most popular male singer at the moment, a tiny twenty year old called Mario, came to Kianjavato. Tickets were a whopping 3000 Ariary (just over $1!) and just about everyone we knew was there.
I’ve just started my nineth week, so I am a little behind with my blog posts, but more will be coming soon. Let me know what you want to hear about next in the comments!