Sahamalaza Îles Radama National Park
Sahamalaza Îles Radama National Park is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve which became National Park in 2007. The protected area comprises a total surface of 260 km². Half of its surface is underwater and consists mainly of coral reefs. The terrestrial part is shared by mangroves (57 km²) along a 30-km-long bay and one of the last patches of dry littoral forest on the west coast (75 km²). The Sahamalaza peninsula has steep slopes, (up to 400 m at Ankitsiky hill) and abundant small rivers where these vestiges of a dry deciduous forest form two blocks, the Analavory Forest in the south and Ambinda in the northern part of the peninsula. About 40% of the species are endemic to Madagascar.
There are eight lemurs species in Sahamalaza. The Sahamalaza sportive lemur (one of the most endangered lemur species with less than 100 remaining exemplars) and the blue-eyed black lemur, also known as Sclater's black lemur (the only primate with blue-eyes of the world) only occur in this remote zone of the island and are true treasures of the reserve.
Sahamalaza Îles Radama National Park is the best place to see these lemurs. The blue-eyed black lemur, Eulemur flavifrons, was rediscovered by science in 1983 after more than a century of uncertainty about its existence. After some initial surveys it soon became clear that the species was one of the most endangered of all lemurs, and that it did not occur in any existing protected area. The species is restricted to a small distribution area on and around the Sahamalaza Pensinusla. Blue-eyed black lemurs were assessed as Critically Endangered (CR) by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) at their Red List Assessment in April 2005, based on an 80% population reduction during the last 25 years. The same probably applies to the Sahamalaza sportive lemur, Lepilemur sahamalazensis, a species only described in 2006, which was not yet assessed at the Red List Assessment.
Other species to be found in the southern part of the park include the northern giant mouse lemur (Mirza zaza) and an as-yet-unidentified form of dwarf lemur (Cheirogaleus), while in the northern mainland part visitors may see black lemur (Eulemur macaco) and possibly Mittermeier’s sportive lemur (Lepilemur mittermeieri). Also reported within the park’s boundaries are northern bamboo lemur (Hapalemur occidentalis) and aye-aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis), but, as always, the latter is quite difficult to find.
Apart from mammals, there are 20 reptiles, 3 amphibians and 41 birds species, such as the crested coua, Madagascar buzzard, crested ibis, Sakavala weaver, common jery, Madagascar heron or the rare Madagascar fish-eagle.
More than 200 species of corals and invertebrates, 20 sea cucumbers and 170 fish species have been catalogued in the coral reefs and coast around Sahamalaza peninsula. The coral reefs of Lagna and Ankakabe are the habitat of sea turtles, which lay their eggs on the beaches of Nosy Valiha.
Sahamalaza Îles Radama National Park has a big touristic potential since it offers a perfect combination of land and sea activities. Some circuits and excursions across the mangroves and the littoral forest as well as diving currently available.
Watch more photos about Sahamalaza Îles Radama National Park here.