Robin Hoskyns Nature Photography – Blog

Images and stories of nature, science and conservation.

Ranomafana National Park

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Having left Kianjavato I am now based in Ranomafana which is right next to the national park.

Ranomafana National Park (RNP) was first set up as a biodiversity and development project in 1986 but only fully protected in 1991 after several years intensive selective logging for valuable hardwood trees. RNP is a particularly popular destination for ecotourists with an estimated 100,000 or more annual visitors, making it one of the most visited parks in Madagascar.

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The landscape is dominated by submontane rainforest, which receives a mean of 3,000 mm of rain per year during the December through March rainy season. Despite intensive logging, over 50% of the park is considered primary forest, the remainder was previously exposed to varying levels of logging and other anthropogenic disturbances. The buffer zone for the park contains more than 100 villages with over 25,000 residents total, most of who are subsistence farmers however the park provides opportunities for alternative income as ecotourism in the area grows.

Boophis sp. showing colourful eye rings. Ranomafana has particularly high frog diversity.

Boophis sp. showing colourful eye rings. Ranomafana has particularly high frog diversity.

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A female Furcifer willsii.

RNP contains 12 species of Lemur including the Milne-Edwards’ Sifaka (Propithecus diadema edwardsi), Black and white Ruffed Lemurs (Varecia variegata) and the Golden Bamboo Lemur (Hapalemur aureus) which the park was originally set up to conserve along with the Greater Bamboo Lemur (Prolemur simus).

The current count of frog species in the park is over 120 species making it in the top two if not the most diverse park for amphibians in all of Madagascar.

RNP is also a hotspot for seeing endemic bird species with species such as pitta-like and short-legged ground rollers, velvet and yellow-sunbird asitys and Blue Coua. Over 60 species of reptile can be found in the park with chameleons, snakes, fringed and satanic leaf-tailed geckos being pretty common.

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Ranomafana NP doing it’s best impression of cloud forest.

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Centre ValBio seen from the Namorona river.

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Namorona River.

Centre ValBio (CVB) serves as a centre for visiting researchers to the park and provides accommodation for up to 50 researchers and has high tech lab space. Most of the research conducted at Centre ValBio contributes to understanding the ecology of tropical rainforests however CVB is also a base for development projects which benefit the local community.

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Plenty of moss and epiphytes!

Uroplatus sikorae, Mossy Leaf-tailed Gecko.

Uroplatus sikorae, Mossy Leaf-tailed Gecko.

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Author: Robin Hoskyns

A field biologist and wildlife photographer from the UK who recently returned from working on the Kalahari Meerkat Project in South Africa. See main website for a full bio and portfolios: www.robinhoskyns.co.uk

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