Madagascar Wildlife Guide |
Know Before You Go
Madagascar is home to some of the richest biodiversity on the planet. Of the approximately 200,000 species known to exist on Madagascar, about 150,000 of them are endemic (found nowhere else on the planet). This magnificent island is home to 100 percent of the world’s lemur species, 50 percent of its chameleon species and 6 percent of its frogs. However, Madagascar lacks most of the mammal groups that are found in other parts of the world, making it particularly unique.
Madagascar’s flora and fauna can be explained by the island’s origins, which was part of the super continent Gondwana. Madagascar, attached to the India, broke off from the Africa–South America landmass about 135 million years ago, then split with India 47 million years later, leaving lifeforms to evolve in isolation. This is why many mainland Africa species, such as elephant, lion, leopard, rhino and wildebeest cannot be found on the island. Such a long period of isolation has allowed species to flourish where they have elsewhere become extinct, and a host of rare, strange creatures have evolved. With an abundance of animals and plants found nowhere else on earth, Madagascar has often been described as a “world apart,” and its distinctive ecology earns it the reputation as a biodiversity hotspot.