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BLOG 2: MADAGASCAR - January 2016

Posted by Craig Ward, January 2016 on

eternal endemism©

BLOG 2: MADAGASCAR - January 2016

I had always wanted to travel to Madagascar. The Ark of Evolution, the eight continent, nature's greatest experiment, has long held fascination and delight for many, including luminaries such as Sir David Attenborough and Gerald Durrell. So imagine my enormous irritation when having spent three fabulous weeks there in January 2016, my passport housed not one scrap of evidence to suggest I had been anywhere near the bloody place.

In fact, travelling there as crew on a small expedition ship meant that I was only cleared in and out of ports of embarkation and disembarkation. So my travel document acknowledged I had arrived into and left Tanzania via Dar Es Salem and Zanzibar respectively, and that four weeks later I would head for home through Richards Bay, South Africa. In that month of January 2016, I had not at all visited Mauritius, La Reunion – France, Seychelles, Mozambique and most certainly not Madagascar. And while, according to my official records I simply had not been anywhere for 30 days I have pretty vivid recollection of the wonders of that isolated place.

Given the extraordinary biological endemism found in Madagascar, I had, of course, wondered if there might be the opportunity to put together an eternal endemism offering for this vast Indian Ocean Island. And as I read, researched and prepared for my trip the possibility was obvious, but I had no material of my own and certainly no credentials. However, two things would make for the chance to give it a go. One the easy access to wildlife and chances for photography meant my colleagues and I would quickly amass a most comprehensive catalogue of endemic vertebrate shots and two, my roommate for the month was Daniel Austin, a wealth of knowledge on things Madagascar and much-published author on the region. And with that, another EE publication was conceived. We have more than nine months of gestation ahead of us, but I look forward to the arrival of another unique progeny.

The book will follow our existing format, showcasing the biodiversity of the region, citing expert commentary and drawing attention to the many conservation issues of this giant island and its unique fauna. Until it is in print we will continue to research, learn and highlight conservation issues and organisations trying to do the right thing. Our conservation spotlight for the month shines on eternal threads, a great organisation helping communities around Madagascar and the world. Their site; http://eternalthreads.org/artisans/madagascar

Craig Ward, January 2016