Madagascar's towering baobab trees, spiny forests, rare primates and a rich cultural heritage form the island's distinct identity. WWF has been active here for more than 3 decades, working with local communities to protect Madagascar’s unique environment.
Separated from the African continent for millions of years, Madagascar's plants and animals have evolved like nowhere else in the world. So unique that the island nation is often referred to as the 8th continent.
Topping the list of rare and exotic species are the world-famous big-eyed, pointy-nosed primates - lemurs.
Lemurs vary greatly in size, appearance and behaviour - from the tiny pygmy mouse lemur to the large white and black panda-looking indri.
There is the sifaka, known as the "dancing" lemur because of its unusual ballet-like movement when sashaying across open areas, while the ring-tailed lemur is easily recognized by its long, black and white ringed tail.
Less than 10% of Madagascar's original forest cover exists today. Most has been cleared for agriculture, cattle grazing and firewood.
Many animals and plants are also threatened by the international wildlife trade. Chameleons, geckos, snakes and tortoises are the most targeted.
In an effort to revert the trend of biodiversity loss, WWF is working on a number of conservation efforts, including working with the government to create and expand protected areas.
WWF has been active in Madagascar for more than 3 decades, providing local communities with the support necessary to manage natural resources effectively. Many of the community-based conservation projects focus on sustainable income opportunities such as ecotourism.
"When local communities have the responsibility to manage their natural resources, they tend to protect them better and use them in a sustainable way."
Nanie Ratsifandrihamanana, WWF-Madagascar
Endemic to the central eastern forests of Madagascar, Parson's chameleons have seen their numbers decline due to collection for the international pet trade.