Madagascar new plant, animal discoveries


This BBC video says about itself:

Is it possible that the Black Lemurs in Madagascar use milipedes for something other than insect repellent? See one very relaxed Lemur and come to your own conclusions. Free wildlife video clip from the BBC.

From Wildlife Extra:

615 new species discovered in Madagascar in 11 years – Many already Endangered

New Madagascar species discovered weekly, many already endangered

June 2011. – Scientists in Madagascar have discovered more than 615 species, including 41 mammals between 1999 and 2010 but many of the exciting and colourful creatures are already endangered. New finds since 1999 include 385 plants, 42 invertebrates, 17 fish, 69 amphibians, 61 reptiles and 41 mammals.

Madagascar’s unique habitats are facing numerous threats, but deforestation is among the most serious, with experts saying that the island has already lost 90% of its original forest cover.

Treasure Island

Treasure Island: New biodiversity in Madagascar, a WWF report compiling discoveries made in one decade shows the immense diversity of the natural wealth on the world’s fourth largest island, but offers one more dramatic reminder of the increasing threats to this fragile environment.

WWF Madagascar’s Conservation Director Nanie Ratsifandrihamanana said “This report shows once again how unique and irreplaceable the different ecosystems in Madagascar hosting all these different species are. WWF works every day to establish a representative protected area network and to promote sustainable livelihood alternatives to allow people in Madagascar to live in harmony with the natural world surrounding them”.

Endangered before discovered

Although just found, many of the species, including Berthe’s Mouse Lemur, are already endangered due to rapidly progressing environmental degradation, driven mainly by deforestation.

The magnificent Tahina Palm (Tahina spectabilis), a massive fan palm which flowers only once in a lifetime with a spectacular, giant inflorescence that forms from the centre of the crown, is undoubtedly among the most exciting scientific discoveries. After fruiting, the palm dies and collapses.

Berthe’s Mouse Lemur

But for all those who know Madagascar thanks to its famous lemurs, one of the planet’s most charismatic animals, the discovery of the Berthe’s Mouse Lemur (Microcebus berthae) in 2000 was the most exciting news.

Weighing only 30 grams, the cute reddish-brown coloured creature resembling one of the characters of the blockbuster film Madagascar is not only the tiniest of the mouse lemurs but also the smallest primate in the world.

Paradise in danger

One of the greatest tropical wildernesses left on Earth and home to some of the most spectacular wildlife, the island is home to 5% of the world’s plant and animal species, of which more than 70% are found nowhere else on earth. The wildlife includes the aye-aye, radiated [see also here] and spider tortoises, marine turtles, flying fox, fossa, tenrec, chameleons, crocodiles and many others.

But this biodiversity paradise is in danger with many species on the brink of extinction. As deforestation and habitat fragmentation continue, so do erosion and sedimentation of coral reefs, leaving communities more vulnerable than ever. Droughts force people to abandon their fields and move towards the ocean where they practice unsustainable fishing methods causing fish stocks to dwindle away even faster.

200 of the world’s rarest tortoises seized from smugglers in Madagascar: here.

August 2011. A shipment of extremely rare and threatened Malagasy tortoises has been seized by officials in Madagascar as smugglers attempted to board a flight with around 200 specimens. Two men, one a native of Madagascar and an Indian national were arrested: here.

8 thoughts on “Madagascar new plant, animal discoveries

  1. When I was a little boy, stepping outside my house would transport me to a different world.

    The forests of Madagascar – just meters from my home – were teeming with life. Lemurs leapt from tree to tree, and the songs of dozens of birds echoed through the woods.

    Today, I have to walk an hour from my house to see the forest. And the forests could disappear entirely if we don’t act now to protect what’s left.

    Will you help me stop deforestation in Madagascar and protect endangered regions around the world?

    I’m working with Conservation International to restore the spectacular forests of Madagascar. Our reforestation program isn’t just creating new trees in Madagascar. It’s also employing hundreds of Malagasy people who once struggled to feed and clothe their families.

    And it’s just one of dozens of programs CI has established to build back natural beauty and help people gain sustainable livelihoods, in Madagascar and around the world. Across Madagascar, CI is working to eliminate dangerous slash-and-burn agriculture and illegal logging to protect what’s left of our forests. They’re also establishing an ecotourism industry that will provide hundreds of jobs for my friends and neighbors – and preserve thousands of acres of forest.

    These programs can rebuild Madagascar’s forests and ensure a future for my people. But the simple truth is that they aren’t possible without supporters like you.

    If you believe places like Madagascar are too precious to lose, donate to Conservation International right now. Your donation will support our work in Madagascar and around the globe to help protect nature.

    Misaotra (“Thank you” in Malagasy),

    Claude Rakotoarivelo
    Madagascar Reforestation Coordinator, Conservation International

    Like

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