Monday, January 4, 2010
I recently spent several weeks in northeastern Madagascar. My primary mission was to photograph the Silky Sifaka, one of the most endangered of that country's lemurs - and, indeed, one of the most threatened primates on Earth. You can see some of the images from that trip here.
As exciting as the trip was, I was horrified to see that since the coup d'etat in early 2009, the country has been largely lawless, with widespread environmental damage taking place in the vacuum.
In and around Marojejy National Park, where I worked, there has been a huge spike in illegal logging, especially for valuable rosewood trees. It has been well-documented by others that thousands of trees have been taken out of the country, many of them from ostensibly protected areas.
The loss of the trees themselves is bad enough, but it is the accompanying impact that is the real danger for Silkies and other endangered animals. Logging invites hunting, and the wanton disregard for legal protections puts all wildlife at risk. For a good summary of the issues - and the devastation - see this recent article : Logging Crisis.
I will pass along more information on this as I stay on top of it.