Article #74 Disappearing Madagascar: What Would Our Planet Lose?

Madagascar is one of the largest island nations on the planet and is also home to one of the globe’s 36 biodiversity hot-spots.  NAME IT THE HOTSPOT This tropical country located off the East coast of Africa, has 5% of all species on Earth living in an areas that is only 0.4% of the total land mass on our planet.

Biodiversity hot spots are critical to the very survival of life on Earth. Currently these areas are experiencing a drastic period of extinction not seen since the disappearance of the dinosaurs millions of years ago, therefore, it is absolutely essential we preserve them.

Globally, the habitats that represent these 36 hotspots comprise only 2.3% of Earth’s land area. Yet, it is difficult to find another 2.3% of the planet that’s more important.

Madagascar split from the African continent about 160 million years ago and is home to thousands of endemic species on the island. Endemic is defined as specific living organisms in a particularly small area that are generally found nowhere else on Earth. According to WWF,  “Approximately 95 percent of Madagascar’s reptiles, 89 percent of its plant life, and 92 percent of its mammals exist nowhere else on Earth.”

The future prosperity of much of Madagascar’s unique life, like this Madagascan sunset moth (Chrysiridia rhipheus), may be in jeopardy of extinction if serious action is not immediately taken. (Photo Credit: Bernard Dupont via Wikimedia Commons)
The Ring-Tailed Lemur like all species of Lemur are endemic to the African island of Madagascar. These beautiful strepsirrhine primates are endangered and must be preserved for the long-term.. (Photo Credit: David Cook via Flickr)
The Avenue of the Baobabs have become a symbolic representation of Madagascar and its powerful connection with nature. (Photo Credit: Tim Snell via Flickr)