In Madagascar, cultural taboos can protect or harm the environment

In Madagascar, cultural taboos can protect or harm the environment

ANTSAHADINTA, Madagascar — Marcel Rakotonary, 75, gives a sharp warning to visitors before they enter Antsahadinta, or the “valley of the leeches.” Located 20 kilometers (12 miles) southwest of the capital city of Antananarivo, the sacred hill of Antsahadinta is the site of royal tombs and ancient dwellings. Its forest has been protected from clearing […]

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Red flag: Predatory European ships help push Indian Ocean tuna to the brink

Red flag: Predatory European ships help push Indian Ocean tuna to the brink

Until Jan 9, 2014, the Playa de Anzoras, a 2,200-ton tuna fishing vessel named for a beach in Spain, built in Spain and owned by Spaniards, sailed under the Spanish flag. On Jan. 10, it dropped the Spanish flag in favor of that of Seychelles, a small archipelagic nation in the Indian Ocean. Neither Spain […]

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Lemurs and giant tortoises among species at risk if global heating hits 3C

Lemurs and giant tortoises among species at risk if global heating hits 3C

Unique island species including lemurs and the Galapagos giant tortoise could be at high risk of extinction if the planet warms by more than 3C above pre-industrial levels, new research warns. Analysis of 270 biodiversity hotspots suggests almost half of endemic marine species and 84% of endemic mountain species will face extinction if the planet […]

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Slash-and-burn farming eats away at a Madagascar haven for endangered lemurs, frogs

Slash-and-burn farming eats away at a Madagascar haven for endangered lemurs, frogs

Deforestation is so rampant throughout Madagascar, an island far larger than California, that it’s easy to forget the impact of tree clearance in any one specific area of the country — the lemurs that lose their habitats, the orchids that no longer bloom, the people whose land becomes barren. But recent activity in the Ankeniheny-Zahamena […]

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Newly described chameleon from Madagascar may be world’s smallest reptile

Newly described chameleon from Madagascar may be world’s smallest reptile

Frank Glaw is no stranger to discovery. The German herpetologist has helped describe scores of new species from Madagascar, but the latest one is special: Brookesia nana is arguably the world’s tiniest chameleon and possibly the smallest reptile on Earth. Measuring just shy of 14 millimeters (0.55 inches), B. nana can perch cozily on an […]

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Pet trade relies on ‘disposable’ wild chameleons from Madagascar

Pet trade relies on ‘disposable’ wild chameleons from Madagascar

DIANA REGION, Madagascar — With the sun still low in the sky, my taxi boat pulled up to a floating wooden pontoon in the bustling port of Ankify in northwestern Madagascar. As one of the few foreigners, or vazaha, in the port that morning, I was instantly surrounded by local taxi drivers eager to take […]

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A chameleon not seen in a century reappears in a Madagascar garden

A chameleon not seen in a century reappears in a Madagascar garden

Armed with headlamps and flashlights, a team of researchers in northwestern Madagascar searched through the night for an elusive chameleon, Voeltzkow’s chameleon (Furcifer voeltzkowi), which hadn’t been spotted for more than 100 years. On the sixth day of their expedition, they found it. But the species wasn’t in the forest as they expected: it was […]

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A third of Madagascar’s lemur species on the brink of extinction, IUCN warns

A third of Madagascar’s lemur species on the brink of extinction, IUCN warns

Human actions have pushed 13 more lemur species, the iconic primates native to Madagascar, to the brink of extinction, according to an update to the list of the world’s threatened species. Those now in the critically endangered category of the IUCN Red List include the tiniest primate in the world, the Madame Berthe’s mouse lemur […]

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