Enchanting creatures of our forests

Madagascar, an island brimming with unique biodiversity, holds a treasure trove of fascinating species. Among these, Crowned Lemurs reign as captivating creatures, found exclusively in the northeastern forests of this magical island. Their distinct appearance, social dynamics, and ecological importance make them a subject of significant interest to wildlife enthusiasts and travellers visiting Miavana

Our Crowned Lemur family has grown some more 

At the end of April 2023, an additional 8 Crowned Lemurs, including 5 females and 3 males, were translocated through the efforts of Time + Tide Foundation from the Bekaraoka forest (in close proximity to the village of Amparihirano) to Miavana. Ever since, our conservation team on the island have been monitoring the Lemurs, having reported that the newest family members have adjusted to their protected sanctuary, brilliantly. Many pairs have formed, which is an encouraging sign for the genetic diversification and long-term survival of these endangered species.

The forest surrounding Miavana is now home to a total of 15 of these magnificent creatures, and guests staying with us have the opportunity to join a guided walk to witness them in their natural habitat as they forage for fruit in the canopy, leap through the tangle of branches, groom themselves and socialise with one another — an experience not to be missed. Enjoy reading on as we delve into the details about these endangered species from their crown-like tufts and how they communicate to their contribution to the ecosystem through foraging.  

Distinctive appearance 

Crowned Lemurs are easily recognizable by their striking colouration and, as their name suggests, the crown-like tuft of fur on their heads. The combination of rich orange and brown hues in their fur allows them to seamlessly blend into the forested environment, while their unique crown sets them apart from other lemur species. 

Social structure

Matriarchal Groups: Crowned Lemurs live in small family groups that are typically led by a dominant female, often referred to as the matriarch. The dominant female holds a central role in the group’s dynamics, influencing decisions related to foraging, movement, and interactions with other groups.

Cooperative Care: One of the most remarkable features of the Crowned Lemur social structure is cooperative caregiving behaviour. Males actively participate in the care of offspring, a rare occurrence among primates. Males are known to carry and groom the young, provide protection, and even share food with them.

Territorial Behavior: Family groups of Crowned Lemurs exhibit territorial behaviour, defending their designated areas against other groups. These territories are essential for accessing resources like food and shelter. Vocalizations, scent-marking, and visual displays are used to communicate territorial boundaries.

Behavioural aspects

Communication: Crowned Lemurs use a variety of vocalizations to communicate with one another. These include calls that convey information about danger, food availability, and group cohesion. Their vocal repertoire includes contact calls, alarm calls, and even loud, long calls that can be heard over significant distances.

Foraging Patterns: Crowned Lemurs are primarily diurnal, meaning they are active during the day. They are known for their agile movements through the trees as they forage for various types of food, including fruits, leaves, flowers, and nectar. Their diet diversity reflects their adaptability to the forest environment.

Grooming and Bonding: Grooming is an important social behaviour among Crowned Lemurs. It not only helps them maintain their fur but also strengthens social bonds within the group. 

Reproductive Behavior: Breeding in Crowned Lemurs is seasonal, with a peak during the austral summer. During this time, females signal their receptivity to males through behavioural cues and scent marking. After a gestation period of about 125 to 135 days, a single offspring (rarely twins) is born. 

Ecological importance + diet 

The Crowned Lemurs’ diet consists of a diverse range of foods, reflecting their role as omnivores and their adaptation to their forested habitat. By foraging on the below, Crowned Lemurs act as seed dispersers and pollinators of the ecosystem in which they inhabit:

  1. Fruits: Fruits make up a significant portion of a Crowned Lemur’s diet. They feed on various types of fruits, including ripe and unripe ones. Fruits provide essential vitamins, minerals, and sugars that offer energy for their active lifestyle.

  2. Leaves: Leaves are another important component of their diet. They consume young leaves as well as more mature foliage. While leaves might not be as nutritionally dense as fruits, they still offer essential nutrients and serve as a supplemental food source.

  3. Flowers: Crowned Lemurs also eat flowers, which can provide nectar and pollen as well as additional nutrients. Flowers can be an important source of energy and certain micronutrients.

  4. Nectar: Nectar from flowers is consumed for its sugary content. It’s a quick and easily digestible source of energy, particularly important for their active behaviour.

  5. Insects and Small Prey: While not a primary part of their diet, crowned Lemurs may occasionally consume insects and other small invertebrates. 

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We spent five days at Miavana. The place is just out of this world! I cannot find words to qualify it. Miavana is so so so great the island is THE MOST BEAUTIFUL PLACE I know! That team are very helpful and effective. And the food is just amazing!

Laya, 2023

Extraordinary staff, very relaxing with beautiful scenery. Well after a few hours a wave of peace floated in and for the next few days we were in heaven.

Carla, 2020

Breathtakingly beautiful and indescribably luxurious. Cannot fault or complain about absolutely anything. The Miavana team, the food, the beautiful accommodation creates paradise within paradise. This is a one of a kind place that will exceed your highest expectations!

Marina, 2022

My week long stay at Miavana was unparalleled in almost every aspect of luxury. Defining luxury not only in terms of great quality and exclusivity, but in terms of craftsmanship, consciousness and a unique enriching experience. The richness of the culture set the context for such unique environment, and is the pillar of every impressive distinguishing feature of Miavana.

Tessa, 2023

Miavana will exceed your expectations. We traveled to Miavana for a week and had an incredible experience. The weather was perfect, the staff was attentive and there was enough activities on offer to keep us busy (honestly we could have stayed an extra week). The island is also home to a group of crowned lemurs which were amazing to see!

Ashley, 2022