Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Madagascar : beautiful exotic island

baobabs in the sunset

Madagascar, known as the third most beautiful exotic island (after Bali and Aruba). It is the fourth largest island in the world; at 587,000 km2 it is comparable to the size of France.

Although Madagascar has over 1,800 miles of beautiful beaches and exceptionally good food, its greatest attractions are its UNIQUE flora and fauna. 70% of Madagascar’s species are not found anywhere else in the world.

Madagascar is one of the greatest tropical wildernesses left on Earth and home to some of the most spectacular wildlife.

Among the discoveries are:

LEMURS: These prosimian primates are found wild only in Madagascar. Some of the best known are:

  • the nocturnal dwarf lemurs, no bigger than a mouse, found all over the island
  • the ring-tailed lemurs, most famously seen in the Berenty Reserve
  • the agile sifaka, which leaps 30 feet or more from branch to branch
  • the babakoto, "indri", the largest living lemur, most easily seen in the Analamazaotra Reserve ("Perinet")
  • the aye-aye, most unique of all living lemurs, protected on the island of Nosy Mangabe and other protected areas.

EXOTIC BIRDS: Five families of birds are endemic to Madagascar.

Notable are:

  • the marvelous vangas, found all over the island
  • the couas, including the beautiful crested coua, and the peewit, easily identified by its unique call
  • the Coracidae, sedentary insect feeders with brightly colored plumage
  • an abundance of aquatic birds in rice paddies and marshes, including herons, egrets, cormorants, ibises, ducks, water hens and flamingoes
  • birds of prey, such as eagles, falcons, and owls
  • more than 70 species of singing birds, including the two species of vasa parrots

RARE PLANTS: Madagascar boasts one of the richest floras in the world with more than 10,000 species of vascular plants, over 80% of which are endemic to the island, including:

  • 1,000 different species of orchids, including the Comet Orchid (Angraecum sesquipedale), the hawkmoth pollinated species with an extraordinarily long nectar spur and the exotic Black Orchid (Cymbidiella falcigera); both are found in the eastern rain forests
  • Ravenala madagascariensis, or "traveler's palm", a striking "tree" with a water-storing trunk, in the bird-of-paradise family
  • Raphia farinifera, the raffia palm, found throughout the East
  • 6 different species of baobabs, all of which are found only in Madagascar
  • Two species of the carnivorous genus Nepenthes, or "pitcher plant"
  • the spiny forest of the South, with its many species of Kalanchoe, Aloe, Euphorbia and Pachypodium

Reptiles (including chameleons, geckoes, turtles and tortoises), amphibians (including brightly colored frogs), beautiful butterflies, moths and stick insects, unique mammals such as the fossa, fantastic coral reefs, whales during the breeding season, and so much more ...

Iranja Island

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