Torotorofotsy Ramsar Site
Situated in the fokontany of Menalamba in the north-west of Andasibe Commune, the Torotorofotsy wetlands (together with its three branches Mokaranana, Ankahelava and Ambasimbavy) serve as a large reservoir for water and host an array of water dwellers. Birds, frogs, lemurs and chameleons depend on the wetland just as much as the rural human population living close to it.
Torotorofotsy once was one of the last intact mid-altitudinal marshes in Madagascar. In recent years, human encroachment has unfortunately led to its increasing degradation as its wild form faces impending transformation into rice fields.
The marshes and their surroundings are immensely rich in biodiversity. The herbaceous vegetation of the marshes is dominated by three plant families (Cyperaceae, Poaceae and Polypodiaceae) and contains the carnivorous plants of the genus Drosera. The marshes are home to the elusive Slender-Billed Flufftail (Sarothrura watersi), Greater Painted Snipe (Rostratula benghalensis) and aggregations of waterfowl such as Meller’s Duck (Anas melleri). Another bird, the Madagascar Scops Owl (Otus madagascariensis), was the namesake for the marshes. Called torotoroka in Malagasy, the scops owls of the region are believed have a white (fotsy) plumage which distinguishes them from their conspecifics occurring elsewhere.
At the marshes’ periphery, Pandanus pulcher is abundant. The ground between their inundated stems are the realm of the Golden Mantella (Mantella aurantiaca). Scattered in between the marshes are small islets of woody plants. Adjacent to the marshes grows rainforest that extends all the way into the Ankeniheny-Zahamena Corridor. Here live other amphibian species, such as the Yellow Mantella (Mantella crocea) or the beautiful Painted Mantella (Mantella baroni).
These dense forests are exceptionally rich in giant bamboo, the staple of the critically endangered Greater Bamboo Lemur (Prolemur simus).
Justified by its enormous biodiversity, Torotorofotsy was declared Madagascar’s 4th Ramsar site in 2005. Torotorofotsy marsh is also a destination for tourist and researchers alike. In 2007, a population of one of the rarest lemurs in the world, Prolemur simus, was found in the Torotorfotsy area. It previously was thought to only exist in small populations in Ranomafana National Park, so the discovery of this Torotorofotsy population has lead to a deluge of scientists working in the area, hoping to find more populations.
The coarse calls of the equally rare Black-and-White Ruffed Lemur (Varecia variegata) can also be heard in these forests.
Watch more photos about Torotorofotsy Ramsar Site here.