DISTRIBUTION: The central and northern portions of the eastern rainforest. Absent from the Masoala Peninsula.
ID: This is the heaviest living lemur. Although its colour is variable, the Indri’s size, short tail, and bushy ear-tufts make it unmistakable.
VOICE: One of the world’s great natural sounds. Groups start calling with a breathless hooting, and then break into long, slurred, remarkably loud notes, almost deafening at close range. Indris are most vocal during the morning and in the wet season, but may call at any time, even at night.
BEHAVIOUR: Lives in small groups of 2–6, with females seemingly the dominant individuals. Like other members of the sifaka family, it generally sits in a vertical position, but is capable of incredibly powerful leaps through the forest. Eats leaves, along with some fruit, flowers, seeds, bark, and a daily dose of soil. Female gives birth every two or three years to a single infant, born in May or June.
WHERE TO SEE: The flagship species of Andasibe-Mantadia. The habituated Indris of the Analamazaotra portion of the park are usually easy to find. Although the Indris in Mantadia are often shy, that sector of the park offers the wonderful experience of hearing several groups counter-sing across a rugged landscape. The black form of Indri can be found in the Anjozorobe-Angavo forest, accessed via Saha Forest Camp.
Extinct Megafauna: The Indri, as the largest living lemur, is a reminder of Madagascar’s lost megafauna. At least 17 extinct lemur species have been identified from subfossils. All of these were larger than the Indri, some much larger. There were three ‘koala lemurs’, weighing as much as 85 kg (187 lb); a whole family of ‘sloth lemurs’, many of which climbed through trees upside down, in sloth fashion, and probably weighed almost 200 kg (441 lb); and even a giant aye-aye. Human activity contributed to the extinction of these giant lemurs, although they may have survived until well after the first Europeans visited Madagascar.
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