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Madagascar!

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Coquerel's Sifaka from the dry forests of North-western Madagascar

a talk and screening given by Andy Smith in Keir Hall at the school

review by Ben Dickenson Bampton, Class 10 pupil

One warm Friday evening, Keir Hall filled with parents and students alike, all keen to hear Upper School teacher Andy Smith’s talk on Madagascar. Using a slideshow of photos taken on his guided tours of Madagascar, Andy’s talk left the audience with a clear picture of the wildlife, culture and geography of this large and fascinating tropical island.

The talk – in aid of Class 10’s canoeing expedition to Scotland – began with an expert look at Madagascar’s geography and climate. Then, moving to the slideshow, Andy revealed a series of captivating shots showing the people, the towns, the forests, and the incredibly diverse species of the island. As it has been separated from Africa’s mainland for over 100 million years, Madagascar’s plants and animals are in many cases unique to the island and throughout the talk the strange otherworldliness of the country was strikingly apparent.

However, an experienced biologist, geographer and tour guide, Andy also pointed out the devastating extent of Madagascar’s deforestation. With over 90% of the native forest having now gone, he encouraged anybody to visit, not just to witness the breath-taking diversity of the place for themselves, but to show that preserving Madagascar’s remaining forests can benefit the country and its people.

Following the talk, the audience dispersed to enjoy their bank holiday weekends, full of images of the wonders of Madagascar.

 

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