It is the fourth largest island on earth and is located off the southeast coast of Africa.
Its vegetation consists of reefs, rain forest and beach.
Mammals, reptiles and amphibians found in Madagascar are 98% unique to this island and not found anywhere else in the world.
It is a home to unique ancient primate known as Lemur. This primate did not evolve from monkeys but evolved independently. They are only found in the wild and have never been exposed to captivity. This wonderful primate is endemic to this island.
Lemur have nocturnal and slow pace behavior. Being a nocturnal, they have a keen sense of hearing. They have strong incisors that enable them to open up logs while searching for insects to feed on. They are very thorough and can find literally everything they get their mind to look for. They have very long fingers that helps them in feeding and grabbing.
Unfortunately, Lemur are considered a bad omen by the surrounding communities within the island. This is due to their nocturnal and slow pace behavior. They are mostly targeted and killed a lot. This action has claimed a big part of lemur population. This is total lack of information and knowledge of the animal by the communities. The community needs to be sensitized and educated on such animals.
Most animals in Africa face similar threat by being labelled as bad omen. It is a very dangerous misfortune to our wildlife since these people are the ones who interact with them on a daily basis. If they have the wrong information then something has to be done before they wipe out the precious innocent wildlife.
I remember how we were taught that owls are a bad omen signifying dead and the birds should be killed when sighted. For a good amount of time, I almost believed them since I was too young to comprehend much. There was one time after a school holiday, we found that some owls had turned our dormitory into their haven. They had made themselves comfortable and popped everywhere. Unfortunately they was a dead one in our cubicle and I was able to have a close look at her. She looked cute to me especially their face. Girls screamed and run back to ground floor. It was hilarious to me coz unlike how I had grown up knowing that they were harmful, I didn’t see that in that cute dead owl.
Conservation education and awareness is the key component for conservation. Knowledge is power and should be spread throughout especially within communities living within wildlife conservation areas. A big percentage of wildlife in Africa live within the communities and not inside the conservation areas.
Madagascar is a hot spot for biodiversity but it’s faced with various threats such as:
- Human settlements for the rapidly growing human population. More land is being encroached.
- Farming is one of the means for food and survival in the island. Big chunks of land is burnt annually to create more land for farming.
- Bush meat is still a means of animal protein in this island. More animals are being killed and overhunting is a major problem to the wildlife population.
- Illegal logging is practiced in this island. The logger aim for the ebony and rosewood. Logging is very dangerous for a rain forest and can clear the forest within a short period if nothing is done to stop it or at least control it.
- Last but not the least, environmental threats such as global warming are also a threat to the island.
The island does have a silver lining as conservationist work hard to come up with conservation projects aimed to save this magnificent island. One Duke Lemur Center.
Duke Lemur Center have established three unique projects that are geared to promote conservation within the island. They are as follows:
- Yam cultivation: They do teach the community to cultivate yams for source of food. Cultivation of yams reduces erosion and is more resistant to tropical cyclones. By practicing yam cultivation, they will be no annual burning of the forest for farming.
- Rocket stoves: They have introduced these stoves to the community. These stoves are fuel-efficient as they only consume half the wood consumed by the normal traditional fire methods. By reducing the amount of wood used then this will reduced the amount of forest resources needed for fire. It will curb overexploitation of the trees. It will also improve respiratory health for the women and children.
- Fish farming: This farming will provide an alternative means for the animal protein. They will no longer need to hunt for bush meat. This will help curb overhunting of the wildlife.
These are great conservation projects and their success is very important to the survival of the Madagascar. Involving the community will go a long way as they are the ones who interact with the wildlife and the vegetation more often.
If Madagascar fails, we all fail. Remember that 98% of what is found in this island is endemic to it so if it disappears then it disappears forever. Find something you can do for Madagascar and just do it, even just visiting it offers something that can help.
Let’s be the voice and protectors for nature. Mother Nature is everything.