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The Wilds of Madagascar

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Sound of the Day When a group    
of black-feathered    
vaza parrots take    
off from their    
perch high in    
trees they can    
make quite a    
squawking. This is    
a single vaza.    

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May 23, 2000
Update: English Camp

Following is the transcript of a voice call from Peter Tyson, who is on location in the Ankarana Reserve.

The dinner table The dinner table at English Camp. From right: Neil Shaw, Nick Gordon, Julie Pomerantz, Luke Dollar, Leon Pierrot Rahajanirina (Dollar's fossa student), and Rin'ha, a Malagasy entomologist.
This is Peter Tyson, online producer of NOVA, and I'm in the so-called English Camp, named after a Southampton University expedition that worked here in the early 1980s. The camp lies in the middle of the Grand Canyon, the largest canyon in the Ankarana.

It's nighttime, but even in daylight you'd never know you were in a canyon, even though the canyon walls rise 600 feet over our heads here. That's because the forest is deep impenetrable jungle, offering no views beyond a few dozen feet at best. Sounds press in as obtrusively as the forest. The unnerving screech of crowned lemurs, the enwrapping blanket of insect calls, and the raucous laughter of the Malagasy guides, who are trading jokes around the campfire.

Luke Dollar arrived today with Julie Pomerantz, a veterinarian, and together they will try to trap and study the fossa and other endemic meat-eaters of the Ankarana.

They've already trapped two ring-tailed mongooses, which are in a cage right behind me here in the camp.

Later on we will join Martin Smith, the cinematographer—who has focussed his efforts over the past year on filming the Ankarana's crocodiles—on a trip to the much-talked-about Crocodile Caves.

In the meantime, tomorrow we will begin sending full dispatches back from the field complete with images and sound, so check back in then for details on a trip to an Ankarana cave bristling with bats.

Peter Tyson is Online Producer for NOVA.

Forest of Hope (June 7, 2000)
A Great Day for Silkies (June 4, 2000)
Camp Life Unveiled (June 3, 2000)
Three Hours with the Silkies (June 1, 2000)
Angels of Marojejy (May 31, 2000)
Wildlife (May 30, 2000)
Into the Marojejy Massif (May 28, 2000)
Croc Cave (May 26, 2000)
Fossa! (May 25, 2000)
Bat Cave (May 24, 2000)
Update: English Camp (May 23, 2000)
Update: Sunken Forest (May 21, 2000)
Update: Night Walk (May 20, 2000)
Update: 70 Feet Up (May 19, 2000)
Update: Tropical Downpour (May 18, 2000)

Photo: Peter Tyson

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