Makira Natural Park – A forest brimming with unique species
Madagascar more magical than the dreamwork’s movie (despite the lack of penguins). Want wild lemur pictures? Find undisturbed forest. Formally established in 2012, Makira Natural Park (IUCN Category II) is one of the largest of Madagascar’s protected areas and encompasses 372470 hectares of strictly protected forest.
The Makira forests represent one of the largest expanses of humid forest left in the biologically rich eastern rainforest biome of Madagascar. The forests of Makira ring with the distinctive calls of indri (Madagascar's largest bodied lemur), the emblematic all-white silky sifaka, red-ruffed lemurs, and serpent eagles.
Makira Natural Park is estimated to contain around 50% of Madagascar’s floral biodiversity and harbors the highest lemur diversity in the country with 20 species. Particularly notable is the occurrence of 3 critical endangered lemur species, the Silky Sifaka (Propithecus candidus), the Indri (Indri Indri) and the Black and White Vari (Varecia variegata subcincta). In addition to a remarkable density of 20 lemurs species, a total of 57 mammals species have been recorded to date, including critically important populations of Madagascar's unique cat-like carnivore, the Fossa (Cryptoprocta ferox), the Falanouc (Eupleres goudotii) and 13 species of tenrecs.
Based on existing records, the lemur fauna here is remarkable and includes Anjiahely mouse lemur (Microcebus macarthurii), Masoala fork-marked lemur (Phaner furcifer), Seal’s sportive lemur (Lepilemur seali), northern bamboo lemur (Hapalemur occidentalis), white-fronted brown lemur (Eulemur albifrons), northern black-and-white ruffed lemur (Varecia variegata subcincta), eastern woolly lemur (Avahi laniger), silky sifaka (Propithecus candidus), indri (Indri indri), and aye-aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis). Sibree’s dwarf lemur (Cheirogaleus sibreei) has been reported from Makira but its occurrence there is not certain. The dwarf lemur there may be an as-yet-undescribed species.
As for birds a total of 125 birds species have been described of which 75 are endemic to Madagascar making the Makira Natural Park to one of Madagascar's Hotspot Areas for bird conservation. For example 10 Vanga species occur in Makira, including the Bernier's Vanga (Oriolia bernieri) with the highest density of all of Madagascar.
The Makira forests are a key, intact biodiversity stronghold and a vital bridge maintaining connectivity across protected areas in the region including Masoala National Park and Marojejy National Park, (which are both included in the Rainforests of Atsinanana UNESCO World Heritage Site), Anjanaharibe Special Reserve, Marotandrano Reserve and Mananara National Park.
Watch more photos about Makira Natural Park here.