Dr Russell - Op Wallacea Madagascar - 23rd July 2011
This morning we went along Sample Route 4 looking for ‘herps’ (reptiles and amphibians). The idea is to go down each set route on a regular basis and record sightings of the relevant animals, recording GPS coordinates where they are found, time, etc. This data, over a period of time, allows the biodiversity of the forest to be measured and assessed year-by-year for change. Each route takes a couple of hours to walk but isn’t far given the fact that speed is slow whilst the undergrowth is scanned for often highly camouflaged animals. Saw several species of geckos and snakes.
In the afternoon, a group of us walked 1½ hours to the boat mooring on the estuary and then went out looking for crocodiles. Same principles as the walking routes but afloat. We saw six crocs and marked location and descriptions of each one. A lot of other wildlife – kingfishers everywhere, catching the eye with vivid flashes of blue and orange amongst the shadows of the riverside undergrowth.
Walked back to camp having had another great afternoon out.
After dinner, went out on another ‘herp’ survey, up Sample Route 2. Found two amazing leaf-tail geckos that were about 25cm long and the most unbelievable camouflage and huge eyes. Going by the name of Uroplatus henkeli (lots of new words to learn) they were a highlight of my stay so far.
A very full day today!