tsingy de bemaraha national park, a unesco world heritage site in western madagascar, is home to lemurs who, with thick pads on their hands and feet, navigate this six hundred square kilometer labyrinth of three hundred foot tall razor sharp limestone pillars.

photographer stephen alvarez remarked, “it’s an unbelievable experience to watch them [as] they jump like acrobats from the sharp pinnacles” — a feat made more remarkable given the vast chasm bellow.

in the malagasy language, tsingy means “where one cannot walk barefoot,” and alvarez noted that given the difficulty of the terrain, it takes an entire day to walk half a mile.

lemurs, like ninety percent of the species in madagascar, are endemic to the island, and, thanks to the isolation of this near impenetrable refuge, have evolved into tsingy’s eleven distinct species, including the decken’s sifaka seen here.