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April 21, 2018  |  Login

Threats to Madagascar’s Wildlife


Madagascar is the world’s fourth largest island, with a land area of approximately 226,000 square miles (585,000 sq km). It is thought to have separated from Gondwanaland (present-day Africa) 60 million years ago.

Madagascar's geographical isolation has led to separate evolution, producing many endemic species and a diverse range of habitat: tropical conditions along the coast, temperate inland areas and arid deserts in the south.


Several of Madagascar's endemic species are threatened, despite the government’s endorsement of international agreements on biodiversity, desertification, endangered species, and marine life conservation. With a human population exceeding 20 million and growing at an annual rate of nearly 3 percent, the pressure on the country's natural habitats is likely to continue.

Although the great elephantbird and Delalande’s coua, or snail-eating coua, are known to have become extinct, new species are being discovered all the time. Lemurs are primates that were displaced by monkeys elsewhere in the world and are now found only on Madagascar. A new species of woolly lemur, five new dwarf lemurs, and eight new species of mouse lemur have been announced since the beginning of the century.

Mackay, Richard (2009) The Atlas of Endangered Species © Myriad Editions. Available from:

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