There are places on the face of this Earth that might disappear before we all get a chance to see their beauty. Ironically most of those places will disappear because so many want to see their beauty. At Travel World Passport we will present those places – we hope you enjoy the list of Top Ten Places to See Before They’re Gone. We continue with one of the most unique treasures on our planet – Madagaskar.
Madagascar, located off the east coast of Africa, is the world’s fifth largest island. To make you easier understand how big that island is note that at 144 million acres, it’s almost the size of Texas. Madagascar’s climate is tropical along the coast, temperate inland, and arid in the south. The island harbors lush rain forests, tropical dry forests, plateaus and deserts. Its more than 3,000 miles of coastline and over 250 islands are home to some of the world’s largest coral reef systems and most extensive mangrove areas in the Western Indian Ocean.
A dizzying range of plants and animals make their home on the island. More than 11,000 endemic plant species, including seven species of baobab tree, share the island with a vast variety of mammal, reptiles, amphibians, and others. From 1999 to 2010, scientists discovered 615 new species in Madagascar, including 41 mammals and 61 reptiles.
Madagascar has several critically threatened species including the Silky Sifaka, a lemur, which is one of the rarest mammals on earth. Its name—“angel of the forest”—refers to its white fur. Another threatened species, the rare Ploughshare tortoise, is found only in a small area of northwestern Madagascar where as few as 1,000 of these animals survive. Ploughshare tortoises can be sold illegally for up to $200,000 on exotic pet markets.
Madagascar’s stunning species and unique habitats are mostly threatened by demands from today’s global markets and from the growing needs of the local population.
For the unique species of the island, loss of vital habitat is a disaster and the increased access to species has also exacerbated the international trade in Madagascar’s wildlife. Today, many animals and plants are threatened, with rosewood trees, tortoises, chameleons, geckos and snakes the most targeted by traffickers. Make sure you and the future generations will appreciate those treasures, too. The secret is to be a very aware traveller! And respect the nature.