James borrell is a conservation scientist and science communicator, with a particular interest in how species adapt to changing climate.

Discovering Madagascar for the First Time

All being well, my team and I will be in the depths of the rainforest by now.

I write this from the blissful ignorance of predeparture faffing. This expedition will be necessarily remote, that means phone signal is unlikely, and internet connectivity will be non existent for us. We have a sat phone, but the expense dictates that this is used sparingly.

All in all, this means we’re doing exciting, cool science – but sending back photographs (which speak a thousand words) is very unlikely. On the plus side, it’s wonderful to be largely disconnected from the frantic world, definitely try it if you can.

This time around though I’m glad, because we can tell the story better when we return. But all good blogs need photographs, so I thought I would share some from a previous Madagascar expedition back in 2007 to give an insight into this fantastic country.

For the latest updates on the expedition (if everything is working!) take a look at @James_Borrell and www.expeditionangano.org.

Madagascar Through The Lens

(a 3 megapixel lens, because that was pretty good in 2007!)


We found the villages in the local area to be incredibly welcoming, even if they thought we were a little crazy for wanting to camp out in the forest.


This was the landscape, sadly not so common any more, but still so much to work for.


Our team, taking a break on the way into the forest.


Our guides were just incredible. They could rig up a bridge over a river in about as long as it would take you or me to whip up a coffee.


Getting stuck in to some tree planting. You can see a nice forest edge in the background, and that will be our focus for this expedition.


Getting thrashed by the local kids at football.


These local doughnuts were the highlight of the trip.


Madagascar just has such a wonderful landscape of paddy fields and rivers, I’ve never seen anything quite like it.


Of course, biology was never far away.


And some enjoyed it more than others!


The local kids had endless energy. We took balloons which they hadn’t seen before, making us very popular!


The ladies of the village put on a dance for us late into the night.


Sunrise on our last day in the field, and already planning to come back.

To find out more about my current expedition, head over here.