Madagascar, Mantas, and More
What does Madagascar have to do with Mantas, one might ask after reading the title of this blog. Generally speaking not much. You are not likely to see a lemur or chameleon frolicking with a manta ray after all. But on this island travel blog anything is possible. Loyal readers of this column know that I have been writing about a recent Seacology trip to Indonesia. While diving there we had several close encounters with manta rays. Seacology board member Jim Sandler took some terrific videos of these magnificent creatures.
Seacology's next expedition is to Madagascar and South Africa from May 10-24, 2008. Anyone who is interested in islands will be fascinated by Madagascar. Madagascar, which is located 250 miles east of the southeastern coast of Africa, has 8,000 endemic plant species (found naturally no where else on earth.) This is twice the number of those found in the entire U.S. Madagascar has 1,000 species of orchids and we will see many of them when we visit the Seacology project on Mt. Angavokely which is also known as orchid mountain. Almost 98% of the island's native reptiles and amphibians are found no where else on earth and it is home to half of the world's chameleon species. Madagascar is also known for its lemurs (below) which we will be visiting in the famous Perinet reserve.
But all is not good in Madagascar. The island has lost 85% of its forest cover in the last 500 years and many of the species living there are threatened or endangered. That is one reason that Seacology has several projects in Madagascar. During our trip we will also be visiting Seacology projects protecting flying fox bats in Mangoro and preserving endangered forests in the Sainte Luce area near Ft. Dauphin.
The trip continues on to South Africa for a tour of Cape Town and a Safari in the MalaMala reserve. For detailed information about how you can join this exciting Seacology trip view the PDF invitation.