Madagascar’s New Species
For scientists looking to discover new species, Madagascar is the treasure trove: according to a new World Wildlife Fund study, scientists have found more than 600 new types of plant and animal life in the last decade alone! Why is Madagascar such a breeding ground for diverse creatures? The island is pretty isolated, and it’s stayed that way for centuries. Plus, the landscape is varied: there’s mountains, rainforest, and everything in between.
Researchers have discovered everything from the 10 cm-long Berthe’s mouse lemur to the “Glam Rock” chameleon in the picture above. National Geographic has some great shots of the new species, from tiny and furry to scaly and thorny.
But the report is also a reminder that some of these very special – and unique – creatures are under threat due to climate change and the practice of clearing forests in Madagascar for wood and other natural resources.
The WWF says the only way to protect all those species is for the locals themselves to get involved.
DateJune 7, 2011