Friday, May 18, 2007

Madagascar (Africa) - Home to five percent of all world’s flora and fauna

Home to about 5 percent of all plants and animal species, this forth-largest island, off the east coast of Africa is truly a nature-lover’s paradise.

The island of Madagascar, lying in the Indian Ocean, off the east coast of Mozambique in mainland Africa, this island is home of some of the world’s diversified flora and fauna, 80 percent of which is native to this island.

Of the fauna, the most famous are the lemurs, a kind of a primate, and in the flora department; six kinds of baobab species take the prize. These plants are found nowhere else in the world.

Some of the other animals that call this island home are racoons, marmots, sloths, as well some 3,000 species of butterflies, that are found no where else in the world. Then there are various kinds of birds and ducks as well as various reptiles.

In terms of geology, Madagascar is home to some of the strangest rock formations in the world. The eastern coast of the island is quite heavily forested, while the western side is a giant plain savannah. A chain of mountains, meanwhile, divides the land halfway in the middle.

Though, it lies in the African region, it is populated by Malagasy people, who are said to arrive not from Africa, the birthplace of humankind, but from Asia. These people, or rather, their ancestors arrived here some 1,500 years ago.

Today, 18 different ethnic groups, including the Malayo-Indonesian, Africans, Arabs, French, Indian, Creole and the Comorans, populate the island.

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