Zahamena National Park: A Great Site in Madagascar


Zahamena National Park is a national site in the African nation Madagascar. The authority established it in 1997 and covers an area of 423 square kilometers.

The total protected area is 643 square kilometers of this place. It is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Rainforests of the Atsinanana, inscribed in 2007.

The site consists of 13 specific areas. They are within eight national parks in the eastern part of Madagascar. In 2001, BirdLife International assessed the avifauna.

They found 112 species, 67 of which are only endemic to Madagascar. This spot is a habitat for 112 birds, 46 reptiles, 62 amphibians, and 48 mammal species.

It includes 13 species of lemurs. The ethnic groups inhabiting the area are Betsimisaraka and Sihanak. The park’s most prominent faunal species is the Indri indri (babakoto).

It is a black lemur with white patches. The Madagascar red owl, known as vorondolomena, is a gecko. The Madagascar serpent eagle is a threatened species.

The red-tailed newtonia is a widespread bird found in this area. The two most prominent endemic floral species are Marattia boivinii and Blotella coursii.


Zahamena National Park is the best for a wildlife experience. Yes, it is. It is quite a complex adventure because there is no developed infrastructure.

It is highly recommendable to hire a 4WD to visit with less trekking. The taxibrous accessibility is difficult. Drive the road from Moramanga to Ambatondrazaka.

From Ambatondrazaka, go to Ankosy and then to Zahamena. The end of the road by car towards Zahamena depends on the season.

Precious stone dealers threaten this park. There is a mining site next to this area, and the miners hunt and eat animals, including lemurs.

For local people, it is fady to eat lemurs, but those who eat lemurs are from all around the country. It is pretty sad, but it is the reality.

This site is generally facing threats from poor farmers living on its boundary. Their farm yields are low, so they encroach on the land for farming and hunt wildlife for food.

Common threats to biodiversity include fires, poaching, and cutting of trees. Rosewood and Ebony often become targets.

These actions destroy forests. Small-scale gem mining is also a threat. Madagascar National Site manages the site.

WWF considers it one of its top 200 priority eco-regions for conservation. International agencies are working to prevent encroachments and threats to wildlife.

They report good progress in this area. The “Landscape Development Interventions Program” operates in this area.

One of its main objectives is to protect the highland rainforest corridor. This corridor links the Zahamena and Andasibe-Mantadia National Parks.

Additionally, activities include eliminating rural poverty through agricultural intensification. They also involve sustainable natural resource management.

The program spans five areas. It focuses on boosting agricultural yields. It enhances conservation measures. It also engages the community in natural resource management.


The park is in the eastern part of the Madagascar island. It is 40 kilometers (25 mi) northeast of Ambatondrazaka. It is 4 kilometers (2.5 mi) from Manakambahiny-East.

Also, it is 70 kilometers (43 mi) northwest of Tamatave. It is about 25 kilometers (16 mi) east of Lake Alaotra. Many tourists do not consider it easy to reach, and it does not attract them.

The park is part of the rainforest topography and ecology. It is part of the Rainforests of the Atsinanana. A rugged, undulating topography locates it.

The topography is part of the mountainous hinterland of Madagascar. The location of it is on the eastern rock faces.

Damon TigheCC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The elevation range is about 254–1,560 meters (833–5,118 ft). The fantastic terrain forms the dividing line of the lowlands that exist here.

The park has well-defined boundaries to the northeast and south. A corridor with settled villages divides the park into two zones. These zones are east and west.

Many valleys make up the park area, and rivers like the Sahatavy and Sarondrina drain it. On the northwest side, many more rivers drain into Lake Alaotra.

Antanandava is the location of the office of the site administration. This site receives an annual rainfall of 180–200 cm and an average temperature of 15-28C.


Scientists have reported the fauna found in the rainforests. They are in all the national parks in the country. The reported fauna consists of forty-five species of mammals.

It includes 13 fascinating species of lemurs. The Lake Alaotra bamboo lemur is local, endemic, and endangered.

The park has endemic species, including Malagasy primates in five families – lemurs. It also has seven genera of Rodentia and six genera of Carnivora.

The park has 46 reptile species, including Sanzinia madagascariensis (VU). It also has 25 endemic and near-endemic mammal species.

Out of all these species, researchers have reported 22 as threatened. Eight species face critical endangerment. Nine species face danger, with five species at risk.

There are also many endemic species of Chiroptera. The park is home to some of the finest rainforests in Madagascar.

The varying altitude of the park results in a range of vegetation types. The biodiversity also varies. It is rich in forest vegetation with many species of flora.

The humid evergreen forest at low elevations in the park has a generally 15–20 meter (49–66 ft) high tree canopy. It also includes 25-metre (82 ft) high emergents.

Tree species in this range include Tambourissa, Pterophylla, Diospyros, Cryptocarya agathophylla, and Dalbergia.

The shrub area includes species of tree ferns Cyatheales and Cyatheales. It also has Screw ferns and Pandanus. The park also has secondary forest areas.

Scientists note dense, humid evergreen forests up to mid-altitudes. Above this level, dense forest vegetation comprises sclerophyllous montane forests.

The slopes of the forest are visible with denser shrubs with herbs and ferns. Polystichum is the dominant flora at the floor level of the jungle.

The forest setting includes 60 species of orchids. It also has 20 species of palms. Additionally, it contains 500 or more species of woody plants.

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