Madagascar at Risk
As one of the most biodiverse places on earth, the pristine landscapes of Madagascar are disappearing. Forests that once blanketed the eastern third of the island have now been degraded and converted to scrub land. As one of the poorest countries in the world, trees are used for charcoal and for firewood, while forests are cleared for rice paddies. Each year as much as one-third of the country burns and roughly 350 square miles of forest are destroyed.
Over ninety percent of the plants and animals on the island of Madagascar are found nowhere else. Yet they have been aggressively hunted and collected by locals desperately seeking to provide for their families. While it has been illegal to kill or keep lemurs as pets since 1964, reptiles and amphibians are collected for the black market.
- Photographer: Jeff Hutchens