Taken in Madagascar, July 2012.
I am so lucky to have visited this beautiful country. While I was studying for my Zoology BSc I decided to apply to volunteer with a fantastic charity called Azafady (now SEED Madagascar) who run a conservation programme. I traveled to Madagascar by myself stopping in Antananarivo for a week before flying to the Southern tip of the Island for 2 weeks of lemur and reptile conservation.
I assisted the researchers working in the littoral rainforest of St Luce, an area which is expected to be completely deforested by 2020 due to the mining of Ilmenite (used as a whitening agent) and local people using the slash and burn technique to clear land for cattle grazing.
I was able to see this beautiful rainforest in less than its full glory, and illegal deforestation was apparent everywhere. The wardens who are meant to prohibit this are very easy to bribe, and the local people need to use the rainforest for resources.
We would walk down narrow transects through the forest, during the day the activities would have been either lemur behaviour study, lemur survey, visiting the last 40 Dypsis stlucei palm trees to check for deforestation, or transect GIS retracking. At night it was either nocturnal lemur survey, or herpetological survey.