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Lemur, Aye-aye, Tortoise, Zebu 1000 Ariary Madagascar Authentic Banknote Money for Jewelry and Collage (Sisal) (Cactus) (Ruffed Lemur) 2004

Lemur, Aye-aye, Tortoise, Zebu 1000 Ariary Madagascar Authentic Banknote Money for Jewelry and Collage (Sisal) (Cactus) (Ruffed Lemur) 2004

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Lemur, Aye-aye, Tortoise, Zebu 1000 Ariary Madagascar Authentic Banknote Money for Jewelry and Collage (Black and White Ruffed Lemur) (Sisal) (Cactus) (2004)

Obverse: Black-and-White Ruffed Lemur, Aye-aye Lemur and Angonoka (Ploughshare )Tortoise.
Translation: Central Bank of Madagascar
Thousand Ariary

Reverse: Sisal and Prickly Pear Cactus (Opuntia). Red and green solid security thread with printed BFM 1000.

Watermark: Zebu cattle head and electrotype 1000.

Issuer Madagascar
Period Third Republic (1992-2010)
Type Standard banknote
Year 2004
Value (1000 MGA)
Currency Ariary (1961-date)
Composition Paper
Size 69 × 138 mm
Shape Rectangular
Demonetized 31 December 2020
Number N# 203210
References P# 89

The black-and-white ruffed lemur (Varecia variegata) is an endangered species of ruffed lemur, one of two which are endemic to the island of Madagascar. Despite having a larger range than the red ruffed lemur, it has a much smaller population that is spread out, living in lower population densities and reproductively isolated. It also has less coverage and protection in large national parks than the red ruffed lemur. Three subspecies of black-and-white ruffed lemur have been recognized since the red ruffed lemur was elevated to species status in 2001.

Together with the red ruffed lemur, they are the largest extant members of the family Lemuridae, ranging in length from 100 to 120 cm (3.3 to 3.9 ft) and weighing between 3.1 and 4.1 kg (6.8 and 9.0 lb). They are arboreal, spending most of their time in the high canopy of the seasonal rainforests on the eastern side of the island. They are also diurnal, active exclusively in daylight hours. Quadrupedal locomotion is preferred in the trees and on the ground, and suspensory behavior is seen during feeding. As the most frugivorous of lemurs, the diet consists mainly of fruit, although nectar and flowers are also favored, followed by leaves and some seeds.

The black-and-white ruffed lemur has a complex social structure and is known for its loud, raucous calls. It is unusual in that it exhibits several reproductive traits typically found in small, nocturnal lemurs, such as a short gestation period, large litters and rapid maturation. In captivity, they can live up to 36 years.


The aye-aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis) is a long-fingered lemur, a strepsirrhine primate native to Madagascar with rodent-like teeth that perpetually grow and a special thin middle finger.

It is the world's largest nocturnal primate. It is characterized by its unusual method of finding food: it taps on trees to find grubs, then gnaws holes in the wood using its forward-slanting incisors to create a small hole into which it inserts its narrow middle finger to pull the grubs out. This foraging method is called percussive foraging, and takes up 5–41% of foraging time. The only other animal species known to find food in this way is the striped possum. From an ecological point of view, the aye-aye fills the niche of a woodpecker, as it is capable of penetrating wood to extract the invertebrates within.

The aye-aye is the only extant member of the genus Daubentonia and family Daubentoniidae. It is currently classified as Endangered by the IUCN; and a second species, Daubentonia robusta, appears to have become extinct at some point within the last 1000 years.

The aye-aye was thought to be extinct in 1933, but was rediscovered in 1957. In 1966, nine individuals were transported to Nosy Mangabe, an island near Maroantsetra off eastern Madagascar. Recent research shows the aye-aye is more widespread than was previously thought, but its conservation status was changed to endangered in 2014. This is for three main reasons: the aye-aye is considered evil, the forests of Madagascar are being destroyed, and the farmers will kill aye-ayes to protect their crops and for poaching. However, there is no direct evidence to suggest aye-ayes pose any legitimate threat to crops and therefore are killed based on superstition.

Folk belief
The aye-aye is often viewed as a harbinger of evil and death and killed on sight. Others believe, if one points its narrowest finger at someone, they are marked for death. Some say that the appearance of an aye-aye in a village predicts the death of a villager, and the only way to prevent this is to kill it. The Sakalava people go so far as to claim aye-ayes sneak into houses through the thatched roofs and murder the sleeping occupants by using their middle fingers to puncture their victims' aorta.


The angonoka tortoise (Astrochelys yniphora) is a critically endangered species of tortoise severely threatened by poaching for the illegal pet trade. It is endemic to Madagascar. It is also known as the angonoka, ploughshare tortoise, Madagascar tortoise, or Madagascar angulated tortoise. There may be less than 400 of these tortoises left in the wild. It is found only in the dry forests of the Baly Bay area of northwestern Madagascar, near the town of Soalala (including Baie de Baly National Park).A captive-breeding facility was established in 1986 by the Jersey Wildlife Preservation Trust (now the Durrell Trust) in collaboration with the Water and Forests Department. In 1996, 75 tortoises were stolen, which later appeared for sale in the Netherlands. The project was ultimately successful, achieving 224 captive-bred juveniles out of 17 adults in 2004. Project Angonoka developed conservation plans that involved local communities making firebreaks, along with the creation of a park to protect the tortoise and the forests.

Conservationists mark the shells with identifying marks which mars the most attractive feature and make them less desirable to poachers and wealthy collectors. The engraving is a last-ditch effort to protect the animals.



The importance of the omby or zebu in Madagascar
It is a symbol of wisdom, with its big horns and humped back, and an integral part of the landscape of Madagascar. In addition, according to legend, there are as many omby - the Madagascan name for the zebu - as there are people on the island! I hope you found this short explanation of the role of this animal in Madagascan daily life interesting and hope you'll be able to check it out for yourself when you're travelling in Madagascar! 

An impressive workforce
As explained in another article, rice is a particularly important grain in Madagascar. Except that without zebus there would be no paddy fields or else there would be a huge amount of work. In fact, zebus are used to tread down the fields before the rice is planted out. When the ground is well and truly waterlogged, the farmers walk up and down the fields with one or two zebus to soften and prepare the soil for planting out the young rice seedlings. This work is much more effective when done by a zebu than by a human being and having tried it myself, I can confirm that!

An ecological means of transport!
The zebu is also used as an ecological means of transport. In a poor country where few people have motorised vehicles and where the price of fuel is unbelievable - about 1 euro per litre - the zebu often replaces the car. Hitched to a little cart and in exchange for a bit of grass, they carry the locals across the winding tracks in the bush, so need for petrol! I have to say that the zebu cart was my favourite means of transport when I went off to explore the bush. You see the landscape at a less frantic pace than in a four-wheel drive vehicle and it will make your trip much more memorable!

A strong cultural importance…
Zebus are also very important in Madagascan culture, where they are a visible sign of wealth. Owning one or - better still- a herd of zebu shows the success and social staus of the owner. In some ethnic groups, a boy only becomes a man when he has stolen his first zebu! Zebus feature in many ceremonies and have an important role in every stage in the life of a Madagascan. From birth to death, they feature in every ritual, even if that means that they are going to take centre stage...

…even after death
For some ethnic groups in southern Madagascar and for the Bara, Antandroy and Mahafaly people in particular, the zebu is actually the object of a cult. When a Mahafaly man dies, his herd of zebus is sacrificed on the day of his burial. The skulls of the animals are then displayed on the deceased's tomb to show his importance and accompany him in the afterlife. The more zebus the better!

During the ceremony, family, friends and the inhabitants of the village are invited to share the meat of the sacrificed zebus at a great celebration. Here, there is no inheritance and children must create their own herd until their death, and so it goes on...

Written by Simon Hoffmann
185 contributions Updated 3 April 2018


Sisal (/ˈsaɪsəl/, with the botanical name Agave sisalana, is a species of flowering plant native to southern Mexico but widely cultivated and naturalized in many other countries. It yields a stiff fibre used in making rope and various other products. The term sisal may refer either to the plant's common name or the fibre, depending on the context. The sisal fibre is traditionally used for rope and twine, and has many other uses, including paper, cloth, footwear, hats, bags, carpets, geotextiles, and dartboards. It is also used as fibre reinforcements for composite fibre-glass, rubber and cement products.


Opuntia, commonly called prickly pear, is a genus of flowering plants in the cactus family Cactaceae. Prickly pears are also known as tuna (fruit), sabra, nopal (paddle, plural nopales) from the Nahuatl word nōpalli for the pads, or nostle, from the Nahuatl word nōchtli for the fruit; or paddle cactus. The genus is named for the Ancient Greek city of Opus, where, according to Theophrastus, an edible plant grew and could be propagated by rooting its leaves.

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