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Madagascar and the Indian Ocean Islands

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maria deB

on 24 October 2012

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Transcript of Madagascar and the Indian Ocean Islands

And the Indian Ocean Islands Madagascar Madagascar and the islands are places where life thrives and where there is a ton of biological diversity. There are over seventeen different species of plant and animals that cannot be found anywhere else on earth. There are also many birds living in the area that are critically endangered and must be protected. That is why scientists are concerned about these islands. Ever since humans arrived on the island, the biodiversity had been reduced greatly, and dozens of species have already gone extinct, due to human activity. And Madagascar is rapidly loosing precious forests. Hotspots are places where diversity thrives and this diversity is one of the key ingredients to successful life on earth. If this variation in species decreases, so does the chance of survival for many other species. This will seriously affect food webs and the environments these species lived in causing a massive chain reaction that will also affect us. What is a Biodiversity Hotspot? A biodiversity hotspot is a place
where plant and animal life is
rich with diversity, but it is also a place where that fabulous diversity
is threatened. Why are Madagascar and
the Indian Ocean Islands a hotspot? This leads us to our next question... Why should we even care about Hotspots? Who is working to save this hotspot? Many people care about this hotspot, and this is what they are doing to save this beautiful ecosystem. The Wildlife Conservation Society is only one of the many groups working to preserve Madagascar and the ocean around. They do this by educating park rangers and local communities about forest and ocean preservation. They have raised money with the government of Madagascar and worked to conserve wildlife.
Other groups have been working to preserve the ecosystem in different ways.
Some work to expand protected parks, some are doing research to find better ways to preserve specific species at risk. Whatever they are doing, i’m glad to say that Madagascar is one of the most worked on conservation locations in the world. They need it. Now I bet your wondering what Madagascar and the Indian Ocean Islands are like? Well, they look a bit like this... I don't know about you but I'd love to go there. Madagascar is the fourth largest island in the world that sits off the southeastern coast of the continent of Africa. Around it you can find Seychelles, Comoros, and Mauritius, three of the Indian Ocean Island countries.
The fact that these hotspots are islands makes them a perfect place for biological diversity. Due to the fact that they broke off from Africa over 100 million years ago, the species on these islands have evolved incredibly from the species that roamed Africa in that era. The geological habitats are also incredibly unique. On the islands alone you can find ecosystems with thick jungle, dry and spiny deserts, deciduous forests, mangrove forests, coral reefs, estuaries and more. And now it's time to show you a few species that can be found here. Meet the Madagascar pitcher Plant Now i had a really hard time choosing my animals, so I chose two species to describe. The first is a lemur called the Verreaux’s sifaka. Or we may have known them as... Zaboomafoo! This lemur is one of 60 living on the island now. It lives in southern, dryer Madagascar where trees are widely dispersed. But due to evolution, these lemurs have found a way to deal with that. They perform what is known as the sifika dance to travel from tree to tree to feed on flowers and leaves. The second species I chose for this presentation is a little creature called the Brookesia Chameleon. Looks like a normal Chameleon right? Look again... This is a full grown Brookesia It’s actually one of the smallest reptiles on earth. And has only been discovered recently. It’s coloring and texture, dull brown with spikes, helps the little reptile camouflage with it’s surroundings. Unlike other chameleons, it's color changing abilities are not very evolved. On the forest floor it feeds on small insects like termites and flies. It lives around northern Madagascar along with many other variations of it’s species (Brookesia- dwarf). Both these animal species are endangered, and they are not alone. Human disturbance has put many creatures of Madagascar and the Indian Ocean Islands on the at risk list. The Madagascar Pitcher plant is a carnivorous plant that lives around the east coast of Madagascar and up in marshy wet areas. Being a carnivorous plant, it draws bugs and small animals in to into slippery bag filled with strong stomach acid-like fluids that break down the unfortunate critters into nutrients for the plant.
The plant is considered vulnerable due to the massive amount of habitat destruction. Madagascar's Socio economic situation. Madagascar's main income comes from tourism (mostly eco-tourism), agriculture and extractive industries. Though they are receiving fairly steady income approximately 68% of the country is in poverty living on a dollar a day.
Many people make a living by working with the extractive industries which have become more demanding than ever these days. But though this industry may be good for the economy, it isn't good for the island. It's these kinds of industries that are draining the life from the island. And if the ecosystem dies, so does the eco-tourism, which will NOT be good for the economy.
These things must be considered when it comes to the extractive industries and what to do about them. If I was to suggest a solution to Madagascar's environmental problems I certainly know what it would be. I believe that if Madagascar was to slowly be rid of the extractive industries and instead turn to more eco-tourism, things would change for the better. Locals could be taught about the biology of the island and find jobs in this industry. And with the successful tourism, I likely suspect that they would be payed more than a dollar a day. This idea could benefit both humans and nature and keep this hotspot safe for generations to come. Thank you for watching!
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