Madagascar barely tried to kill me. Like almost not at all. And really, I have nothing but good things to report. Imagine that. Two minor but notable incidences include my 1) nearly getting gored by a herd of rogue forest zebu (we, the zebu and I, had a misunderstanding as to my intentions and they decided to take a preemptive strike), and then my 2) getting a burning, blistering mystery insect bite that nearly drove me to chew off my own arm (and a good chunk of my torso). I tried everything short of human breast milk (a common cure for maladies around these parts, but unfortunately I didn’t have access to a lactating woman) to ease the excruciating itch and blazing hot burn, but 48 hours was all the metaphorical doctor ordered. Otherwise, all is/was good.
I am thrilled to report that the illegal human activities which were taking place within Tsimanampetsotsa National Park have dramatically decreased (see Conservation Sucks). Imagine that! I did collect quite a few “death balls” (horrible endemic fruits used to snare animals), but thankfully, no animals had been caught. And, get this, I saw 11 tortoises!! Previously, I stated that the critically endangered radiated and spider tortoises were likely locally extinct, but gosh darn it, I was wrong. Yet another pleasant surprise. There is still much work to be done in reforestation and forest protection; however some admirable strides have been made and my faith in humanity is moderately restored. Today.
|Destroying death balls. And looking odd.|
|OMG. Radiated tortoise on its tip-toes.|
I didn’t accomplish as much as I had hoped (but really, do we ever?) for a variety of reasons such as not having a car, not having any student assistants, and the fact that elementary school is out of session, but I got in lots of good quality lemur time and collected a remarkable number of lemur urine samples (36, FYI). I love these animals so very much and seeing how their lives change (or don’t) year after year is wonderful. Especially when neither of you are actively dying.
|Lemur fingers. Because I love them almost as much as lemur toes.|
More to come.