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Magical Madagascar

June 13, 2010

A giant Grandidier baobab tree

Madagascar is a place of unrivaled beauty. Split from mainland Africa about 160 m.a., Madagascar’s natural life has evolved isolated from the rest of sub-Saharan Africa. As a result, it is a world unto itself and contains myriad flora and fauna species found nowhere else on earth. Upon this blessed island, which is the fourth-largest is the world, one can find giant Grandidier baobab trees, huge panda-like indri lemurs, the largest in the world, and the giraffe-necked weevil, all of which can be found nowhere else.

Larger than California but smaller than Texas, Madagascar is home to one of the most biodiverse unique rainforests on earth and the spiny forest, an other-worldly landscape unique in it’s own right.

From when I was a small lad stuck in the ‘burbs of Northern New Jersey, I have had a fascination with this strange and distant island. It has been, and remains till this day, high on my list of places to visit before I die. A world away and home to such interesting and exotic wildlife, it seemed like a utopia, a place where dreams come true, life is easy and every sunset is more beautiful than the last.  However Madagascar, though special and treasured, is facing problems endemic to any poor indigenous place on Earth. As powerful nations continue to live beyond their means and over-stress their own resources, they begin to exert their influence over the more bountiful parts of our planet. Consequently, deforestation, mining (including by Chinese companies), and a staggering population growth are causing serious environmental and economic problems to the country.

A leaping lemur

To get a small taste of these natural wonders, including the beauty and the curse of this island state, watch this program:

Vanguard: Saving Madagascar

I will get there one day, I hope in time to see all the island has to offer.

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