Madagascar’s mammalian evolution under threat

International scientists have concluded that it would take three million years to recover the number of species that went extinct from human activity on Madagascar. A new study published in Nature Communications projects that if currant species that are threatened also go extinct, it would take 20 million years to recover them. That is much longer then what what’s been found on any other island archipelago in the world.

Madagascar’s fauna is relatively intact. Over two hundred species of mammals still live on the island, many of those being unique to Masagascar and don’t live anywhere else in the world. Madagascar has already experienced many extictions since humans settled on the island roughtl 2500 years ago. This includes the extinction of Giant lemurs, Elephant birds and Dwarf hippo’s.

Read more on Naturalis.nl.

Tenrecs in Madagascar

Nearly all tenrec species in all of the 3 subfamilies and 8 genera are unique to the island of Madagascar. With the flora and fauna heavily struggling under human involvement on the island, the threat applies to this entire family of animals that are so incredibly diverse. The five species that are held in captivity can most likely be reintroduced within a matter of years with the collaboration of zoos and breeders that have these animals in their ownership, but the other species would take a long time recover after a case of extinction. There however are suspicions of small populations of a few Tenrec species living on the mainland of the African continent, specifically Mozambique and possibly Tanzania, due to ships going between the island and the mainland and tenrecs accidentally being shipped back and forth.

Photo: By Frank Vassen – Flickr: Lowland Streaked Tenrec, Mantadia, Madagascar, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=14465335. No alterations made.

Article by Judith Dunkirk.

2 thoughts on “Madagascar’s mammalian evolution under threat

  • nickyjh

    Humans just affect all our animals worldwide. It seems because Madagascar is so unique, it seems they are so endangered. why cant we just leave them alone.

    • Madagascar is a very secluded island with native populations of humans who deeply believe in healing powers of certain animal species when eaten or used otherwise, which unfortunately aids the threatening status of several species, much like it happens in Asian and African countries where these beliefs are rooted deeply into their cultures. It makes it a difficult topic to make change as well. There is a slow change, fortunately, with the help of conservationists, zoologists and biologists who educate these people. But the study doesn’t lie, it will be a very, very hard task to get certain species back if they seem to go extinct. Fortunately a few tenrec species do also live on the mainland of Africa, which might help their case at least.

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