Thursday, May 22, 2014

Reniala lemur rescue center

I've just gotten back from the Reniala lemur rescue center, the first and only rescue center for ring-tailed lemurs in Madagascar, and am so happy to report that they (the forest association, and NGO staff and volunteers) are doing an amazing job caring for the 25 captive lemurs. Its wonderful to find kindred spirits who genuinely care about nature and are willing to stick their necks out for animals.

A very nice spiny forest, with a handsome path to boot.

Lemur housing at Reniala
Reniala reception area with one of the local guides
(who's name I didn't catch!) and Lea Giraud. 

Plus, Reniala is very cushy. I stayed in a house with a bed and a TOILET. I had excellent coffee and crepes for breakfast, with honey (that is made onsite), and fresh fruits and veggies at lunch and dinner. The purpose of my trip, of course, was not to be comfortable, but I certainly don't mind a little comfort when it comes my way!

Mmm. Food that doesn't suck. 

Um, is that a bungalow? Why yes. Yes it is. 

And on to the lemurs. These poor things have not had it easy. Most were wild caught as babies and sold to tourists or Malagasy hotels looking increase tourism. Some were owned by single individuals. A few were born at the center. Some were kept in bad conditions, as you can imagine. And they have the physical and emotional scares to prove it- details to follow, once I can upload video.

Samy, the RTL. He lost a finger and fractured his
radius and ulna somewhere along the way.

But, now these lemurs have each other! And many people looking out for their best interests.

Maki besties.

In fact, we hope that these lemurs can be released someday, but this next step is very complicated. Its not entirely clear if these captive raised lemurs could sufficiently provide for themselves, as they may not know what natural foods are edible. Its also not clear if they recognize natural predators- look, they sleep on the ground at night! That would get you gobbled up in a hurry at Tsimanampetsotsa.

Ground sleeping?!

It is also tricky to find remaining suitable, lemur-safe, well protected forest. And there is a potential for disease introduction between captive and wild lemurs. See, its complicated. But that is the goal.

And just for fun, here is a pic of a Madagascar big-headed gecko (Paroedura pictus), because I was so excited to see it!

Just your average rare, endemic, big-headed gecko. 


  1. Wonderful! Such lovely lemurs and I am surprised at what a beautiful place it is. I had no idea it was so well-developed. Do many tourists visit?

  2. It is a lovely place and takes under 2 hours to get to from Toliara. They get many tourist in the peak season, but few Dec-Mar.