Sep 18, 2009

Saving Madagascar's Wildlife

One of the unintended outcomes of the recent Madagascar coup by a former radio DJ (true!) was an uprising in the capture or outright killing of several species of lemur, as described in a BBC EarthNews article from Mark Cawardine:

In the two and a half decades since Douglas [Adams] and I arrived to look for aye-ayes (Daubentonia madagascariensis), the country's human population has doubled from roughly 10 million to more than 20 million, and that means more and more pressure on its natural resources.

In particular, the forest that once clothed this mini continent like a protective coat has virtually gone.

Madagascar was already one of the world's highest conservation priorities.
But the recent troubles will impoverish it still further.

Without urgent action, it faces an ecological disaster that could wipe out some of the most wonderful animals and plants on earth.

The amount of wildlife in the island country, just off the coast of Mozambique, is almost staggering to ponder:

The most notable species include 31 varieties of lemur, an endangered primate; the insectivorous tenrecs; the carnivorous nepenthes; 26 species of bats; the fosa and Galidia mongoose, both carnivores; giant jumping rats; 51 species of chameleons; 144 species of frogs; over 300 species of butterfly; and over 256 species of birds.
Source: The Africa Adventure Company

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