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Madagascar, or Republic of Madagascar (older name Malagasy Republic, French: République malgache), is an island nation in the Indian Ocean off the southeastern coast of Africa. The main island, also called Madagascar, is the fourth-largest island in the world, and is home to 5% of the world's plant and animal species, of which more than 80% are endemic to Madagascar. They include the lemur infraorder of primates, the carnivorous fossa, three bird families and six baobab species. Two thirds of the population live below the international poverty line of US$1.25 a day.

As part of East Gondwana, the territory of Madagascar split from Africa approximately 160 million years ago; the island of Madagascar was created when it separated from the Indian subcontinent 80 to 100 million years ago. Most archaeologists estimate that the human settlement of Madagascar happened between 200 and 500 A.D., when seafarers from southeast Asia (probably from Borneo or the southern Celebes) arrived in outrigger sailing canoes. Bantu settlers probably crossed the Mozambique Channel to Madagascar at about the same time or shortly afterwards. However, Malagasy tradition and ethnographic evidence suggests that they may have been preceded by the Mikea hunter gatherers. The Anteimoro who established a kingdom in Southern Madagascar in the Middle Ages trace their origin to migrants from Somalia.

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Rice fields
Credit: Bernard Gagnon

Rice fields near Ambalandingana, Madagascar.

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Eulemur collaris AGrandidier 0833.jpg

The Collared Brown Lemur (Eulemur collaris) is a medium-sized Strepsirhine primate and one of twelve species of brown lemur in the Lemuridae family. It is only found in south-eastern Madagascar. Like most species of lemur, it is arboreal, moving quadrupedally and occasionally leaping between trees. Like other brown lemurs, it lives in social groups, primarily eats fruit, is active both day and night, exhibits sexual dichromatism, and does not demonstrate female dominance. The species is listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and is threatened primarily by habitat loss.

Together with the twelve other true lemurs (genus Eulemur), the Collared Brown Lemur (E. collaris) is a type of lemur belonging to the family Lemuridae. Collectively, lemurs (infraorder Lemuriformes) are classified as Strepsirhine primates. Originally listed as a subspecies of the Common Brown Lemur (E. fulvus), the Collared Brown Lemur was promoted to full species status in 2001 by biological anthropologist Colin Groves.

An adult Collared Brown Lemur can reach a head-body length of 39 and 40 cm (15 and 16 in) and have a tail length of 50 and 55 cm (20 and 22 in) for an overall length of 89 and 95 cm (35 and 37 in). (Read more...)

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Credit: Henry Trotter

The city of Tôlanaro, Madagascar from the top of a mountain.

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Aerial photo of a portion of the Anjajavy Forest

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In the news


Wikinews Madagascar portal
  • January 24: Wikinews interviews Aurélien Miralles about Sirenoscincus mobydick species discovery
  • April 7: At least fourteen dead after eating toxic fish in Madagascar
  • May 13: Madagascar's leader Andry Rajoelina 'will not run in polls'
  • March 6: Somali pirates seize tanker off coast of Madagascar
  • December 21: Madagascar leader names army officer as prime minister
  • November 7: Madagascar political rivals agree to unity government deal
  • March 22: Madagascar's former opposition leader sworn in as president
  • March 17: Madagascar President resigns, unclear rule in Antananarivo
  • March 16: Coup in Madagascar; opposition leader backs army
  • July 14: 13 missing from ship off coast of Madagascar; two rescued



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Andry Rajoelina, November 2008.jpg

Andry Nirina Rajoelina (born May 30, 1974) is a Malagasy politician and television and radio station owner. Rajoelina dissolved Madagascar's parliament, changed the high court judges and swore himself in as transitional head of state of Madagascar on March 21, 2009, having been installed in that position by the military at the end of a political crisis. Rajoelina was Mayor of Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar, from December 2007 to February 2009. While serving as Mayor, he strongly opposed President Marc Ravalomanana, ultimately leading protests that, together with military intervention, resulted in Ravalomanana's resignation. He is one of the youngest current heads of state in the world and the youngest head of state in Africa.

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