Nature of Madagascar
With a dry spiny forest in the South, baobab trees in the West, and virgin rainforests in the North East, Madagascar can be called a mini-continent. More than 10,000 varieties of plants can be found on the island, including 1,000 different species of orchids, a water-storing bottle tree, six different kinds of baobabs, a carnivorous pitcher plant, and the Traveller’s palm, locally known as ravinala, which is included in the national seal and used for the Air Madagascar logo. Raffia is a Malagasy word that has conquered the world, the raffia fibre coming from the endemic raffia palm. According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) many Malagasy plants have medicinal potential. But it is often the Malagasy fauna that attracts visitors. Over 50 different species of lemurs live in the trees, including the worlds only blue eyed primate (apart from man) and the mouse-lemur, the tiniest primate on earth. Chameleons, other reptiles, small predators, a variety of birds, bats and amphibians make up the rest of Madagascar’s wildlife. One species looking even more remarkable than another. The total number of different species may be more than 200.000, many still undescribed and most completely different from any species found elsewhere.