Six Hundred Unknown Species Discovered in Madagascar

Image: Jorn Kohler/WWF Madagascar

Furcifer timoni, female

A World Wildlife Fund (WWF) report entitled Treasure Island: New biodiversity in Madagascar describes how scientists have recorded 615 new species on the island between 1999 and 2010. However, many if not most of these species are already critically endangered due to the wholescale destruction of their forest habitat. More than 90% of the forests have already been destroyed – and yet the island is home to 5% of the world’s species, of which 70% appear nowhere else. Thus, when their habitat is gone, there will be no populations left to further their existence.

It is of critical importance that everything possible be done both politically and financially to find ways to protect the habitat of these wondrous creatures, and in the end encourage the growth of a truly protective economy that can arise from ecotourism. Let’s take a look at some of the new discoveries in the last decade – creatures that we desperately want to save from extinction.

Image: Axel Strauss/WWF Madagascar

This colorful see-through frog, Boophis bottae, gives you a good look at its organs through its skin! One of 69 amphibians found over the last decade, it is nevertheless under threat. It lives on the edge of the rainforest and in stream beds and was discovered in 2002. According to WWF, it is “threatened by habitat loss and is declining due to destruction of its forest habitat due to subsistence agriculture, timber extraction, charcoal manufacture, invasive spread of eucalyptus, livestock grazing, and expanding human settlements.”