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The endangered environment in Madagascar

Madagascar is the fifth largest island in the world. Without doubt one of the richest spaces in the world in terms of biodiversity, the isolation of the island and the variety of climates and landforms have favored the development of many endemic species. 294 bird species of which 107 are endemic and 247 species of amphibians of which 245 are endemic, its exceptional primates - like lemurs, not to mention its gigantic baobabs. 80% of all species of plants and animals in Madagascar are found nowhere else in the world.

Once again, the destruction of the environment is taking an alarming toll on the island. Currently, only 10% of the original forest area remains, with the vast majority of species-rich tropical forests in the east and north-west of the island disappearing. We have already mentioned slash-and-burn agriculture, which made the island a scarlet spot on the photos taken by NASA during the dramatic fires of the Amazon last summer. Also, wood consumption is obviously correlated with population growth while sustainable production tends to decrease. In rural areas, it is estimated that only 5% of the population has access to electricity, precipitating the forest degradation caused by the exploitation of charcoal.

But as if that were not enough, Malagasy wild species, by their endemic nature, are very popular on foreign markets, especially ebony, or rosewood, hard and prestigious, very popular in Asian markets where it is worth $2,000 a tonne. Wildlife is not left out, deforestation threatens 94% of lemur species with extinction. Tortoises (a reduction of more than 50% of the species of radiated turtles has been observed by specialists since 2000, knowing that in some "Asian countries", a couple of adult turtles can be exchanged for a small Mercedes car), sharks (for their fins), sea cucumbers and seahorses (mixed with rum, or cooked in broth, itis very popular in some "Asian countries", not to mention its so-called aphrodisiac virtues), are also exposed to this illegal trade. This is thus essentially in the direction of China whose environmental impact, on its territory, on those whom it "colonizes" or those which it raids without shame, gives nausea. But all this can not happen without the kind assistance of local elites who gorge themselves on this trade.

Let’s remember Geronimo’ famous aphorism: “When the last tree has been cut down, when the last river has been poisoned, when the last fish has been caught, then we will realize that we cannot eat money.”


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