Wildlife travel: What animals can I see in Madagascar?

This huge island nation is a dream destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Explore its parks and reserves to see many species that can be found nowhere else on Earth. 

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Illustration by Dawn Cooper

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1. Fossa, Kirindy Forest

Fossa (Cryptoprocta ferox) photographed in Berenty, Madagascar

Fossa © Shannon Wild / VW Pics / UIG / Getty

Fossas are Madagascar’s apex predator, a large mongoose-like carnivore that can grow to nearly 1.5m long (if you include the tail). Elusive and hard to spot, but Kirindy is said to offer better odds than other locations.

2. Aye-aye, Nosy Mangabe

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Aye-aye © Frans Lanting / Getty

The extraordinary aye-aye was introduced to Nosy Mangabe, which it was hoped would develop an ‘ark’ population. If you want to see any aye-ayes, you’ll have to stay the night.

3. Giraffe-necked weevil, Ranomafana NP

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Giraffe-necked weevil © Nick Garbutt / Getty

These famously bizarre bugs are only found in rainforest on the east side of Madagascar. In the mating season, look out for males fighting for a female using their necks. 

4. Indri, Andasibe-Mantadia NP 

Indri (Indri indri) portrait in tropical rainforest habitat. Madagascar.

Indri © Andy Rouse / Getty

The indri is the largest-living lemur and, with its black and white, luxuriously thick coat, unmistakable for any of its relatives. Also renowned for their extraordinary calls, there are some habituated groups within the park.

5. Verreaux’s sifaka, Berenty Reserve

Verreaux's sifaka (Propithecus verreauxi) 'hopping' across open ground to reach new feeding area. Berenty Private Reserve, Madagascar. Oct 2008.

Verreaux’s sifaka © Anup Shah / Getty

This lemur is renowned for its elegance, whether it’s leaping through the trees or bounding along the ground with its arms in the air. There are habituated groups at Berenty.

6. Ring-tailed lemur, Isalo NP

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Ring-tailed lemur © Robert Harding / Getty

If there is such a thing as the archetypal lemur, the ring-tailed lemur is it, even though it can only be found in the south. It feeds on the ground in groups of up to 30 individuals.

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