FunNature & AnimalMore than 615 new species in Madagascar

More than 615 new species in Madagascar

madagascarDuring the last decade scientists have discoveredmore than 615 new species in Madagascar. The island has an immense natural wealth, since 70% of the species that inhabit there are unique in the world. However, it faces serious environmental threats, among which the growing deforestation stands out, according to the world nature conservation organization WWF, which has just published the report “Treasure Island: New biodiversity in Madagascar”. The document compiles a decade of discoveries in which both the enormous natural heritage of the fourth largest island in the world and the threats suffered by this fragile paradise are evident.has already lost 90% of its original forest cover.

The findings cover 40 mammals, 69 amphibians, 61 reptiles, 42 invertebrates and 385 plants. Theespectacular Palmera tahini (tahini spectabilis)it has been one of the most exciting discoveries. It is a giant palm tree that blooms only once in a lifetime and, after bearing its fruit, dies. Another unique species isel gecko Phelsuma borai, able to change color and turn blue during courtship. Or thechameleon Furcifer timoni, with a spectacular “makeup” on her face. Although without a doubt, the most representative and world-recognizable animals of this great island are its famous lemurs. Among them draws attentionBerthe’s mouse lemur (Microcebus berthae), found in 2000, which with only 30 grams of weight isthe smallest primate in the world.

Madagascar isone of the last rainforests on Earth. The island is home to 5% of all species of fauna and flora in the world, of which 70% are endemic, that is, they can only be found in this region. Lemurs, the aye-aye, the spider tortoise, various species of sea turtles, flying foxes, crocodiles, the curious tenrec … are some of the thousands of species that live under the dense forest cover of Madagascar. Many of them are on the brink of extinction due to deforestation and the fragmentation of their habitat, on land and the erosion and sedimentation of coral reefs, in the sea. To this must be added that, after the coup in 2009 and the instability that followed, theforests of Madagascar were looted in search of hardwoods, especially rosewood. Tens of thousands of hectares were affected, including some of the most representative national parks of the island’s biodiversity, such as Marojejy, Masoala, Makira and Mananara.

 

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