Wildlife Madagascar Field Site: La Mananara (within the Anjozorobe-Angavo protected area)

  • Location: Analamanga Region, central-eastern Madagascar
  • Management category: Privately owned forest; IUCN Category V protected harmonious landscape
  • Current Management: Association Fanamby
  • Site size: ~800 ha; while the larger protected area of Anjozorobe-Angavo is 40 square kilometers (15.4 square miles)

The privately-owned forest of La Mananara in central-eastern Madagascar has been protected for more than 100 years, while the larger protected area of Anjozorobe-Angavo became a formally protected area in 2015. It covers a total area of 41,189 hectares (101,780 acres) of intact primary and secondary humid evergreen forest, between an elevation of 751 and 1,750 meters (i.e., mid-to-high elevation). La Mananara and Anjozorobe-Angavo are largely isolated from the nearest natural forest blocks, with a large agricultural valley separating the protected harmonious landscape from Ambohidray, Andasibe-Mantadia, and Ankeniheny-Zahamena to the east. The park is easily accessible, located directly north of Antananarivo. Despite being rarely visited, this park presents the perfect tourism alternative to Andasibe-Mantadia, which currently attracts among the highest number of tourists in the country.

Biodiversity in La Mananara

La Mananara (and the larger Anjozorobe-Angavo protected area) are known to host at least 10 lemur species, including Madagascar’s 2 largest extant lemur species, the indri and diademed sifaka. Both species are a big tourist draw. Unfortunately, the indri is included on the list of the Top 25 Most Endangered Primates in the World. These species are both currently listed as Critically Endangered, as is one of La Mananara’s nocturnal lemur residents, Sibree’s dwarf lemur.

  • Indri (Indi indri) Critically Endangered
  • Diademed sifaka (Propithecus diadema) Critically Endangered
  • Common brown lemur (Eulemur fulvus) Endangered
  • Eastern gray bamboo lemur (Hapalemur griseus) Vulnerable
  • Eastern woolly lemur (Avahi laniger) Vulnerable
  • Weasel sportive lemur (Lepilemur mustelinus) Vulnerable
  • Goodman’s mouse lemur (Microcebus lehilahytsara) Near Threatened
  • Crossley’s dwarf lemur (Cheirogaleus crossleyi) Vulnerable
  • Sibree’s dwarf lemur (Cheirogaleus sibreei) Critically Endangered
  • Aye-aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis) Endangered

Similar to many protected areas in eastern Madagascar, Anjozorobe-Angavo is also known for its incredible diversity of herpetofauna, including at least 40 species of amphibians and at least 38 species of reptiles. La Mananara is considered an excellent birding site, known to host at least 112 species of birds. In addition to lemurs, there are at least 46 mammal species, including the locally endemic Voalavo antsahabensis, a Nesomyidae rodent. Other fauna of high interest to tourists include the Madagascar grebe, Madagascar serpent eagle, slender-billed flufftail, Pronk’s day gecko, and globe-horned chameleon.

Botanically, the area contains many of the typical flora species found in the Central Highlands forests and eastern central humid forests. The remaining natural forest is surrounded by non-native Eucalyptus and Pinus plantations. Botanical interests at this site include 47 orchid species, specifically Angraecum compactum, Bulbophyllum cardiobulbum, and Bulbophyllum lancisepalem.

Current Threats Facing La Mananara

Assessments conducted by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List demonstrate that overexploitation in conjunction with unsustainable agricultural practices affect 62.1% and 56.8% of vertebrate species, respectively. They also show these practices affect nearly 90% of all Madagascar’s plant species. Following is a list of the major threats to La Mananara and the larger Anjozorobe-Angavo protected area.  

  • Shifting agriculture (slash-and-burn)
  • Selective logging (plank making and charcoal production)
  • Collection of secondary forest products (traditional medicine)
  • Hunting (snares, slingshots, occasionally firearms)
  • Various forms of freshwater fishing (eels, freshwater shrimp, fish, and crabs)
  • Artisanal mining (small-scale mining, e.g., quartz and semi-precious gems)
  • Uncontrolled fires, typically along park boundaries for demarcating land and livestock pastures
  • Invasive animal species (feral dogs and cats, bushpigs, small Indian civet, black rats, and Procambarus crayfish)
  • Invasive plant species (Clidemia hirta, Lantana camara, Psiadia altissima; along park boundaries, Pinus spp. can lead to soil acidification)

Improving the management of existing protected areas, through initiatives including agricultural training and livelihood enhancement such as ecotourism, is more important than creating new protected areas.