Facts about Madagascar



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Rain forest in Analila, Northern Madagascar
© WWF Madagascar / Martina Lippuner

  • At 587,000km2 (226,640 sq mi), Madagascar is the world's fourth largest island - about the size of Kenya or France.
     
  • The highest mountain is Maromokotro at 2876m.
     
  • The island was created when it separated from the Indian subcontinent 80-100 million years ago.
     
  • 250,000 species are found here, of which 70% are found nowhere else in the world.
     
  • Of the estimated 14,000 plants native to Madagascar, 90% are found nowhere else in the world.
     
  • With 26 endemic families and more than 470 endemic genera, Madagascar is one of the richest places on Earth for higher level endemism.
     
  • Of the 50 different kinds of lemurs, 10 are critically endangered, 7 are endangered and 19 are considered vulnerable.
     
  • There are 7 species of baobab trees in Madagascar compared to only one in all of the rest of Africa.
     
  • The Toliara coral reef, off Madagascar's southwestern coast, is the 3rd largest coral reef system in the world.
     
  • Recent surveys indicate that coral diversity is higher in Madagascar than in any of the East African states or the Red Sea
     
  • The region also has the most extensive mangrove coverage in the Western Indian Ocean.
     
  • Analysis of satellite imagines indicates that forest cover has decreased by almost 40% from the 1950s to 2000. This forest destruction and degradation threatens thousands of species with extinction. Experts now predict that Madagascar has already lost 90 % of its original forest cover.
 
	© Miguel Vences / WWF Madagascar
This exceptionally-coloured new snake species was discovered in 2010 at the western side of the Makira plateau, within the newly created Makira National Park, province of Mahajanga, in the North East of Madagascar. The species is one of 61 reptiles discovered over the last 11 years.
© Miguel Vences / WWF Madagascar
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The famous Baobab Allee in Morondava, Madagascar
© WWF Madagascar / Martina Lippuner