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Photos: photoblog-madagascar

For Valentine's Day: Heart-shaped lichen in Madagascar



(02/14/2013) Heart-shaped lichen in Madagascar. Photo by Rhett A. Butler

I photographed this heart-shaped lichen in Madagascar's Ranomafana National Park in 2009. I don't know the species. Any ideas?

Continue reading: For Valentine's Day: Heart-shaped lichen in Madagascar




Best of 2012 - Where rainforest meets the sea in Madagascar



(12/19/2012) Tampolo Marine Park. Photo by Rhett A. Butler

For the month of December, I'll be posting some of my favorite pictures from 2012. All of these photos were taken during the course of my reporting travels.

Tampolo Marine Park is located on Madagascar's famed Masoala Peninsula. Once a logging concession, the forest is now recovering and part of the protected area. The marine zone of the park has clear waters and coral reefs.

Continue reading: Best of 2012 - Where rainforest meets the sea in Madagascar




Best of 2012 - Can you find the camouflaged frog?



(12/15/2012) Stream frog on Nosy Mangabe. Photo by Rhett A. Butler

For the month of December, I'll be posting some of my favorite pictures from 2012. All of these photos were taken during the course of my reporting travels.

This is a well-camouflaged frog on Nosy Mangabe, an island in the Bay on Antongil, Madagascar. Do you know the species?

Continue reading: Best of 2012 - Can you find the camouflaged frog?




Best of 2012 - Baobab in Madagascar



(12/14/2012) Diego Suarez Baobab (Adansonia suarezensis) in Ankarana Special Reserve. Photo by Rhett A. Butler

For the month of December, I'll be posting some of my favorite pictures from 2012. All of these photos were taken during the course of my reporting travels.

This is a baobab tree in Ankarana Special Reserve.

Continue reading: Best of 2012 - Baobab in Madagascar




Best of 2012 - a cryptic gecko in Madagascar



(12/11/2012) Uroplatus gecko in Madagascar. Photo by Rhett A. Butler

For the month of December, I'll be posting some of my favorite pictures from 2012. All of these photos were taken during the course of my reporting travels.



Continue reading: Best of 2012 - a cryptic gecko in Madagascar




Best of 2012 - Glowing red-orange fungi in Madagascar



(12/11/2012) Glowing red-orange fungi in Madagascar. Photo by Rhett A. Butler

For the month of December, I'll be posting some of my favorite pictures from 2012. All of these photos were taken during the course of my reporting travels.

This is some type of fungi on the Masoala Peninsular in Madagascar.

Continue reading: Best of 2012 - Glowing red-orange fungi in Madagascar




Best of 2012 - Male crowned lemur in Madagascar



(12/09/2012) Crowned lemur in Madagascar. Photo by Rhett A. Butler

For the month of December, I'll be posting some of my favorite pictures from 2012. All of these photos were taken during the course of my reporting travels.

This is a male crowned lemur in Madagascar's Ankarana Special Reserve.

Continue reading: Best of 2012 - Male crowned lemur in Madagascar




Best of 2012 - Rainforest of Madagascar's Masoala Peninsula



(12/06/2012) Rainforest of Madagascar's Masoala Peninsula. Photo by Rhett A. Butler

For the month of December, I'll be posting some of my favorite pictures from 2012. All of these photos were taken during the course of my reporting travels.

Home to rainforests, coral reefs, and rich marine life in the Bay of Antongil, Madagascar's Masoala Peninsula is one of the most biodiverse places on earth. This picture shows a forest stream within Masoala National Park.

Continue reading: Best of 2012 - Rainforest of Madagascar's Masoala Peninsula




Best of 2012 - Giant day gecko in Madagascar



(12/06/2012) Giant day gecko in Madagascar. Photo by Rhett A. Butler

For the month of December, I'll be posting some of my favorite pictures from 2012. All of these photos were taken during the course of my reporting travels.

This is a Giant Madagascar day gecko (Phelsuma madagascariensis) in Ankarana Special Reserve in northern Madagascar. The Giant day gecko is found widely in Madagascar. It is also commonly kept in the pet trade.

Continue reading: Best of 2012 - Giant day gecko in Madagascar




Best of 2012 - Female black lemur in Madagascar



(12/04/2012) Female black lemur on Nosy Komba, an island off northern Madagascar. Photo by Rhett A. Butler

For the month of December, I'll be posting some of my favorite pictures from 2012. All of these photos were taken during the course of my reporting travels.

This is a Female black lemur on Nosy Komba, an island off northern Madagascar. Today black lemurs area big draw for tourists to visit Nosy Komba, which lies between the island tourist hub of Nosy Be and mainland Madagascar.

Continue reading: Best of 2012 - Female black lemur in Madagascar




Best of 2012 - Cinnamon Roller in Madagascar



(12/02/2012) Cinnamon Roller (Eurystomus glaucurus). Photo by Rhett A. Butler

For the month of December, I'll be posting some of my favorite pictures from 2012. All of these photos were taken during the course of my reporting travels.

This is a Cinnamon Roller in Ankarafantsika National Park. These birds are very common in the camp ground at the entrance of the park. They are quite vocal.

Continue reading: Best of 2012 - Cinnamon Roller in Madagascar




Crowned lemur in Madagascar



(11/06/2012) Crowned lemur at a camp site in Ankarana National Park, Madagascar. Photo by Rhett A. Butler

Continue reading: Crowned lemur in Madagascar




The minuscule leaf chameleon in Madagascar



(11/02/2012) Leaf chameleon (Brookesia species) in the hand of a forest guide on the Masoala Peninsula, Madagascar. Photo by Rhett A. Butler

This is a full grown chameleon. Brookesia are among the smallest lizards on the planet.

Continue reading: The minuscule leaf chameleon in Madagascar




The Fossa, Madagascar's largest carnivore



(11/01/2012) A captive fossa near Andasibe, Madagascar.

The fossa is Madagascar's largest carnivore. While it looks like a cross between a puma and a dog, the fossa is actually related to the mongoose. It is one of the few animals in Madagascar that hunts lemurs.

Continue reading: The Fossa, Madagascar's largest carnivore




Gorgeous Parson's chameleon



(10/31/2012) Parson's chameleon near Analamazoatra Reserve.

Continue reading: Gorgeous Parson's chameleon




Ankarana Sportive Lemur in Madagascar



(10/30/2012) Ankarana Sportive Lemur (Lepilemur ankaranensis) in Ankarana, Madagascar.

I just returned from 3+ weeks in Madagascar where I was looking into the illegal rosewood trade and other stories. I'll be posting a picture a day for the couple of weeks as a preview to the set that will eventually be online.

Continue reading: Ankarana Sportive Lemur in Madagascar




Gecko meet insect



(08/30/2010) The giant leaf tailed gecko of Madagascar, Uroplatus fimbriatus, hangs out above a flying insect. Photo by: Rhett A. Butler.

Continue reading: Gecko meet insect




Vezo children dancing on a sand dune in Madagascar



(08/02/2010) Two Vezo children dance on a sand dune in Tulear Arovana (Ankorohoke), Madagascar. Photo by: Rhett A. Butler, 2009.

The Vezo are a semi-nomadic people who live on the west coast of Madagascar. They rely wholly on fishing for their livelihood.

Continue reading: Vezo children dancing on a sand dune in Madagascar




A multitude of unidentified species



(06/16/2010) Unidentified bee approaching an unidentified bird of paradise flower. Photo by: Rhett A. Butler.

At mongabay.com we love to take photos. However, sometimes it proves difficult to decipher what species we're photographing. If you have any information on these mystery species or those below please contact me.

Continue reading: A multitude of unidentified species




Climate change battering the world's lizards



(05/19/2010) An Oustalet's chameleon wanders across a sandy landscape near Isalo, Madagascar. This species is one of the world's largest chameleons. Photo by: Rhett A. Butler, 2009.

A new study finds that lizards are vanishing due to the impact of a warmer world. Unless effective action is taken to lower carbon emissions the study warns that 20 percent of the world's lizard could vanish forever by 2080. The study found that lizards in Madagascar, home to about half of the world's chameleons, are especially vulnerable.

Continue reading: Climate change battering the world's lizards




Orchids for Spring



(05/06/2010) In the northern hemisphere, flowers are blooming, trees are leafing, and the hemisphere is becoming a nicer shade of green. Here's some orchids from down south to celebrate. Lady of the Night Orchid (Brassavola nodosa) in Panama. Photo by: Rhett A. Butler

Continue reading: Orchids for Spring




Tomorrow is the second annual Save the Frogs Day!



(04/29/2010) A green bright-eyed frog (Boophis viridis) from Madagascar. Photo by: Rhett A. Butler, 2009.

Tomorrow, April 30th, is the second annual Save the Frogs Day with events on six continents. Currently a third of the world's amphibians are threatened with extinction due to a variety of human impacts, including habitat loss, pollution, herbicides and pesticides, climate change, and a devastating amphibian-fungal disease, chytridiomycosis, which has played a large role in declining frog populations worldwide and in several cases extinction. Scientists believe that over 120 species have likely vanished in the past thirty years alone.

Save the Frogs Day is a call to action through education, celebration, and for the first time ever even peaceful protests. To find events near you or even via the Internet: Save the Frogs Day Events.

Continue reading: Tomorrow is the second annual Save the Frogs Day!




Baby brown lemur born at the Bronx Zoo



(04/26/2010) aby brown collared lemur clinging to its mother's back in the Bronx Zoo’s Madagascar! exhibit. Photo by Julie Larsen Maher ©WCS.

The Bronx Zoo has put a recently-born, female brown collared lemur on display at the Bronx Zoo’s Madagascar! exhibit.

The baby lemur is has yet to be named and is the second born to her parents, Jean Luc and Vera. She is one of less than 50 brown collared lemur born in captivity world wide.

The brown collared lemur is listed as “vulnerable” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) due to habitat loss.

Continue reading: Baby brown lemur born at the Bronx Zoo




Earth Day 2010: what will we leave our children?



(04/22/2010) Children in Maroantsetra, Madagascar. Photo by Rhett A. Butler, 2009.

A special op-ed for Earth Day looks at the global environmental problems facing us, and how we have so far failed to address them.

Continue reading: Earth Day 2010: what will we leave our children?




Golden mantella



(04/19/2010) Listed as Critically Endangered by the IUCN Red List, the tiny golden mantella (Mantella aurantiacais)is native to Madagascar. Photo by: Rhett A. Butler.

Continue reading: Golden mantella




Mangroves on the edge



(04/11/2010) Mangroves at Baie D'Ambodi-Vahibe, Madagascar. © CI/ photo by Sterling Zumbrunn. According to the first global assessment of mangroves by the Global Marine Species Assessment (GMSA)—a joint initiative of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and Conservation International (CI)—the IUCN Red List has found that 11 out of 70 surveyed species of mangroves as threatened with extinction. Two species, both in Southeast Asia, were found to be Critically Endangered.

Continue reading: Mangroves on the edge




The streaked tenrec



(03/29/2010) Madagascar is home to some strange and wonderful animals, but few stranger and more wonderful than the tenrecs. Belonging to the family of Afrotheria, the small shrew-like tenrecs are most closely related to elephants, sea cows, aardvarks, and hyraxes. Including some thirty species, tenrecs are omnivorous and eat a range of foods. While the majority of tenrecs survive on Madagascar, three species are known from Africa's mainland. Photo by: Rhett A. Butler.

Continue reading: The streaked tenrec




Madagascar suspends timber exports and rainforest logging



(03/27/2010) Rainforest in Eastern Madagascar. Photo by: Rhett A. Butler, 2010.

Under mounting pressure over illegal logging of its national parks, Madagascar's transitional government last week reinstated a ban on rosewood logging and exports. The decree (no. 2010-141) prohibits all exports of rosewood and precious timber for two to five years.

Continue reading: Madagascar suspends timber exports and rainforest logging




Frogs of Madagascar



(03/07/2010) The Boophis goudoti is one of hundreds of frogs endemic to the island of Madagascar. Every single frog species in Madagascar can be found now where else in the world, however frogs are particularly imperiled on this island.

Deforestation, human consumption, the pet trade, and climate change, all threaten the amphibians of Madagascar. A website created by herptologists is working to save these unique and beautiful species.

Continue reading: Frogs of Madagascar




Child in a Vezo fishing village in Madagascar



(03/04/2010) Child in Arovana (Ankorohoke), a transient Vezo fishing village in southwestern Madagascar. Photo by Rhett A. Butler, 2009.

The Vezo, subgroup of the Sakalava ethnic group in Madagascar, typically form fishing communities in the coastal regions of southwestern Madagascar. They are renowned for their ocean navigation skills and fishing prowess.

Continue reading: Child in a Vezo fishing village in Madagascar




Delmas to resume timber shipments; Madagascar rainforest logging expected to accelerate



(02/25/2010) Rosewood tree felled deep within a protected area last week. This photo illustrates an example in which five trees were cut in order to gain access to a single rosewood tree. While five to six trees are typically cut to float a single rosewood tree downstream from harvesting areas, these five trees are not the very lightweight tree species which are used to build transport rafts. Thus the impact of selective rosewood harvesting is substantial.

Delmas, a French shipping company, has apparently decided to resume shipments of illegally logged rosewood from northeastern Madagascar following a near-three-month hiatus. The first shipment is expected to go out Monday.

Continue reading: Delmas to resume timber shipments; Madagascar rainforest logging expected to accelerate




Orange-footed, yellow spotted, blue and turquoise frog in Madagascar



(02/22/2010) Reed Frog (Heterixalus alboguttatus)

I spotted this colorful frog near Ranomafana National Park, Madagascar. It's common name is misleading: the White Spotted Reed Frog.

Madagascar is thought to have more than 400 species of frog. All but one discovered to date are endemic to the island.

Continue reading: Orange-footed, yellow spotted, blue and turquoise frog in Madagascar




How to stop the lemur slaughter in Madagascar



(02/10/2010) Coquerel's sifakas grooming in Madagascar. Photo by Rhett A. Butler 2010.

Madagascar is in the midst of an appalling logging crisis driven by greed and politics. Here's a proposal for solving the problem.

Continue reading: How to stop the lemur slaughter in Madagascar




Efforts to address rural poverty via conservation programs may not stop deforestation



(02/07/2010) Child in village in the Antanifotsy Valley, Madagascar.

A transition in the drivers of deforestation over the past 20 years means that efforts to reduce rural poverty through programs that attempt to link nature conservation with sustainable rural development may fail to stop deforestation on a global scale, argues a new paper published in Nature Geoscience.

The research—based on newly available, spatially explicit analysis of tropical forest loss—bolsters the argument that deforestation is increasingly driven by international demand for commodities, rather than subsistence activities. Bringing an end to deforestation will thus require tackling unsustainable patterns of consumption, a tall order given rapidly rising affluence in countries around the world.

"Efforts need to focus on reducing deforestation for industrial-scale, export-oriented agricultural production, concomitant with efforts to increase yields in non-forested lands to satisfy demands for agricultural products," write Ruth S. DeFries, Thomas Rudel, Maria Uriarte and Matthew Hansen, the authors of the paper.

Continue reading: Efforts to address rural poverty via conservation programs may not stop deforestation




Seeking legitamacy, politicians sanction rainforest destruction in Madagascar



(01/28/2010) Babobab in western Madagascar, near Morondava.

Madagascar is renowned for its biological richness. Located off the eastern coast of southern Africa and slightly larger than California, the island has an eclectic collection of plants and animals, more than 80 percent of which are found nowhere else in the world.

Madagascar is home to such evolutionary oddities as the fossa, a carnivorous mammal that looks like a cross between a puma and a dog but is closely related to the mongoose; the indri, a cat-sized lemur whose haunting song resembles that of the humpback whale; the sifaka, a lemur that “swears” rudely but moves across open ground like a ballet dancer; brilliantly colored chameleons and day geckos; and cryptic leaf-tailed geckos, which are nearly impossible to distinguish from bark or moss. It has baobab trees, which look like they've been planted upside down; the rosy periwinkle, a delicate flower used to cure pediatric leukemia and Hodgkin's disease; and an entire desert ecosystem consisting of just spiny plants, none of which are cacti. Accordingly, scientists have made the island—dubbed the Eighth Continent—a top conservation priority.

But Madagascar's biological bounty has been under siege for nearly a year in the aftermath of a political crisis which saw its president chased into exile at gunpoint; a collapse in its civil service, including its park management system; and evaporation of donor funds which provide half the government's annual budget. In the absence of governance, organized gangs ransacked the island's biological treasures, including precious hardwoods and endangered lemurs from protected rainforests, and frightened away tourists, who provide a critical economic incentive for conservation. Now, as the coup leaders take an increasingly active role in the plunder as a means to finance an upcoming election they hope will legitimize their power grab, the question becomes whether Madagascar’s once highly regarded conservation system can be restored and maintained.

Continue reading: Seeking legitamacy, politicians sanction rainforest destruction in Madagascar




Tiny mouse lemur



(01/22/2010) Gray Mouse Lemur (Microcebus murinus). Photo by Rhett A. Butler 2009.

New research supports the long-held belief that Madagascar's mammals populated the island by rafting on clumps of vegetation across the Mozambique channel. Most of Madagascar's native mammal families are capable of either flight (bats) or long periods of dormancy (lemurs, tenrecs, mongoose-like carnivores, and rodents) during which they lower their metabolism and/live of stored fat reserves. Madagascar's hippos, now extinct at the hands of man, were semi-aquatic and likely able to raft across the channel.

Continue reading: Tiny mouse lemur




Beautiful, but unknown nymph



(01/10/2010) This is an insect nymph I spotted in Ranomafana National Park in Madagascar. I have no idea what it is. The photo doesn't do it justice: the colors were incredible.

Continue reading: Beautiful, but unknown nymph




Approaching cyclone could worsen rosewood logging in Madagascar



(01/09/2010) Cyclone Edzani is presently on course to hit Madagascar sometime late next week. The storm could bring devastation to Madagascar, which is already reeling from an economic crisis caused by a military coup in March. Previous cyclones, which hit Madagascar every few years on average, have caused extensive damage and loss of life.

Cyclones are also linked to rosewood logging. While harvesting of precious hardwoods for export has been prohibited for a decade, an exception has been made for "fallen trees" ostensibly knocked down by powerful cyclones. However in practice, this has created a loophole for illegal logging since the government has never conducted an inventory of downed trees following a cyclone. Timber traders can easily claim the logs they've harvested the result of storm damage (similar approaches are also employed by loggers in the United States and elsewhere). So should Cyclone Edzani come anywhere near rainforests that contain rosewood and ebony, expect an escalation in logging. Since national parks are about the only place where these valuable trees still stand, these biological jewels will be targeted.

Continue reading: Approaching cyclone could worsen rosewood logging in Madagascar




'Tastiest' lemur is also one of the most important to the rainforest ecosystem



(01/04/2010) The Black-and-white ruffed lemur (Varecia variegata) lives in Madagascar's eastern rainforests. Surveys of village residents near Ranomafana National Park reveal that the Black-and-white ruffed lemur is the "tastiest" type of lemur. Patricia Wright, executive director of the Institute for the Conservation of Tropical Environments at Stony Brook University, says this is troubling because the black and white lemur may also be the most important seed disperser in Madagascar.

Continue reading: 'Tastiest' lemur is also one of the most important to the rainforest ecosystem




Christmas chameleon



(12/24/2009) The male panther chameleons found near Maroantsetra, Madagascar are known for their striking red-and-green coloration, especially during the breeding season when they are competing for mates.

Continue reading: Christmas chameleon




Outlook in Madagascar darkens



(12/22/2009) Madagascar moved closer to a political crisis over the weekend when transitional president Andry Rajoelina, who seized power earlier this year in a military coup, named retired army Colonel Albert Camille Vital as prime minister. The move came two days after Rajoelina dismissed Prime Minister Eugene Mangalaza who had assumed the role under a power-sharing agreement between warring political factions. Now the stage is set for new confrontation between forces loyal Rajoelina and the former president, Marc Ravalomanana, who fled the country at gun point in March.

Rajoelina's appointment of an army colonel is likely an offer to shore up support from the military. Rajoelina made no mention of elections.

Continue reading: Outlook in Madagascar darkens




French company plans $40M shipment of illegally logged rosewood from Madagascar port on Mon or Tues



(12/19/2009) Local reports indicate French shipping company Delmas is planning to pick up more than 200 containers carrying rainforest hardwoods from the port of Vohemar on December 21 or 22. It is believed that at least some of the timber has been illegally logged from Madagascar's national parks, especially Masoala and Marojejy. The shipment has a retail value of at least $40 million.

Delmas has been made aware on several occasions that the shipment contains illegal wood but has refused to take action to date.

Continue reading: French company plans $40M shipment of illegally logged rosewood from Madagascar port on Mon or Tues




Tropical Rainforest in Madagascar



(12/02/2009) While Madagascar's forests have been greatly reduced in extent as a result of generations of clearing for subsistence agriculture (primarily rice and pasture for zebu cattle), the ones that remain support astounding levels of biodiversity. But Madagascar's most diverse forests have been ravaged this year by loggers exploiting precious hardwoods that will be eventually be sold to consumers in rich countries, primarily in Europe and the United States.

Continue reading: Tropical Rainforest in Madagascar




Dancing lemurs



(11/29/2009) Verreaux's sifaka from southern Madagascar is known as the dancing lemur for the way it moves across open ground.

Primarily a tree-dweller, sifakas are somewhat awkward on the ground due to their splayed feet. Since trees in their habitat are often dispersed, sifakas cross open ground by sashaying on their hind legs with arms aloft.

Beyond their ballet performances, sifakas are famous for their ability to leap from tree to tree in Madagascar's endemic spiny forest, where virtually every branch is covered with sharp thorns or spines.

Continue reading: Dancing lemurs




Orange and red-striped Panther Chameleon in Ankarana



(11/27/2009) This spectacular male panther chameleon (Furcifer pardalis) was photographed in Ankarana Special Reserve in Northern Madagascar.

The panther chameleon is popular in the pet trade due to its bright colors, which vary regionally. Males are considerably more colorful than females, especially in the breeding season.

Continue reading: Orange and red-striped Panther Chameleon in Ankarana







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