Spotlight on Madagascar

Lemurs are to Madagascar what giant pandas are to China—they are the goose that laid the golden egg, attracting tourists and nature lovers to visit the Red Island.

Jonah Ratsimbazafy, president of Groupe d’Etude et de Recherche sur les Primates de Madagascar (GERP)

Madagascar is home to over a hundred species and subspecies of lemurs, and over 95% of them are endangered.

The enormously rich diversity of primates makes Madagascar one of the planet’s four major primate regions. And yet it is a tiny fraction of the size of other three regions – all continents – where primates occur (mainland Africa, Asia and the Neotropics). In fact, Madagascar is the second richest country on Earth for primate diversity, surpassed only by Brazil, which is more than six times larger. And Madagascar is the world’s number one country for primate endemism.

The high level of endemism in Madagascar means that most protected areas in the country have lemur species of particular interest. There are almost too many sites to select just a few but some of my favourites include Andasibe National Park where you can see Indris, the world’s largest lemur, and the spectacular Diademed Sifaka; Ranomafana to see the Golden Bamboo Lemur, one of the planet’s most endangered animals, or reserves including Daraina where you have a chance to see the mythical Aye Aye which resembles a proposal from a committee asked to design a new primate for Halloween.

In other words, every primatewatcher should want to visit Madagascar. And every visit can be very important for conservation.


Madagascar – with a collection of trip reports from the island

The Lemur Conservation Network (LCN) – unites and supports over 60 conservation organizations and connects them with people around the world

Andasibe and the northwest, 2022 – Mogens Trolle, 3 weeks & 19 species including Crowned, Coquerel’s and Diademed Sifakas, Black and Bue-eyed Black Lemurs and a Hova Mole Tenrec.

Madagascar, 2019 (& 2016) – Reef and Rainforest’s very useful guide to seeing some of the top Madagascan mammals including Aye Aye, many Sifakas and Omura’s Whale.

Madagascar, 2010/2011 – Jon Hall, 12 days and 42 species including Crowned Sifaka, Narrow-striped Mongoose, Giant Jumping Rat and 3 Tenrec species.

Madagascar rankings

Browse the global Madagascar list rankings or submit your list to join the competition.

1Paul Simpson341
2Jon Hall340
3Tim Mellon298
4John Holmes200
5Monica Petterson180
6Robert Smith177
7Jeff Hart105
8Mike Johns97
9Tam Michaels92

See also


Why primates? They are our closest relatives and species like gorillas, chimpanzees and orangutans are some of the well-known and well-loved animals.

Central & South America

Central and South America – or the Neotropics – are home to well over 200 species and subspecies of primates.