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    Feb '18

    Recent scientific expeditions in the Lost Forest Reserve have found treasure in the form of potential new species, and species previously associated with very different habitat types such as the endangered, dry-forest loving Ringtailed Lemur. © Giovanna Fasanelli

    Recent scientific expeditions in the Lost Forest Reserve have found treasure in the form of potential new species, and species previously associated with very different habitat types such as the endangered, dry-forest loving Ringtailed Lemur. © Giovanna Fasanelli

    Apex Supports Rainforest Trust | Saving Madagascar’s Lost Forest

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    Apex co-founder Giovanna Fasanelli discusses Madagascar’s Lost Forest Reserve, a project of the Rainforest Trust. Apex is proud to support Rainforest Trust and their work in Madagascar to protect this very unique, secluded forest and the endangered biodiversity seen nowhere else on Earth.

    Madagascar’s Astounding Biodiversity  

    There are very few wilderness destinations left on the planet that showcase the astounding variety and uniqueness of nature’s creations quite like Madagascar. The fauna and flora inhabiting this land are simply some of evolution’s most spectacular, lovable, wacky, awe-inspiring works of art! From the lipstick-red Giraffe-necked Weevil and the spiky Lowland Streaked Tenrec to the pied, whale-song-singing Indri, the imagination is simply set on fire!

    Although the country only covers one-half of one percent of the world’s land, it is home to five percent of the world’s plant and animal species. When considering global primate diversity by region, Madagascar boasts over 100 lemur species, a number matched similarly by the entire continents of Africa and Asia! Of the nine species of baobab in the world, seven are found living on this island and, of the 10,000 species of plants here, 90 percent are 100 percent “made in Madagascar”! When biologists describe Madagascar as ‘special’, we really mean it.

    Madagascar’s Forests and Wild Animals are Disappearing

    Over the past five years of leading trips to this exotic land, I have fallen hopelessly in love in a way that evokes powerful emotions of reverence and wonderment but, regretfully, too, a forlorn and bitter sadness. Madagascar is under attack. Unable to rise above the cumulative forces of merciless corruption and the ensuing, pitiful poverty, undefeatable population growth and a complex blend of spiritual beliefs and tribal customs that involve the lives of many of Madagascar’s wild animals, this startlingly wondrous world is disappearing into oblivion.

    Like Borneo, Madagascar represents an island of extreme biodiversity and, like Borneo, it is suffering irreversible losses due to the tidal wave of development and overpopulation. If you have visited this astounding country you will likely agree with me when I say, there is simply too much to lose. Therefore, we must act!

    Apex leaders have been taking visitors to Madagascar’s shores for over twenty years, contributing countless tourism dollars into the economy. Despite the terrible losses that have been suffered by the wilderness areas, such that less than ten percent of pre-human forest remains today, Madagascar is still the favorite wildlife destination of many travelers. Representative animals and their unique habitats still cling to life scattered in isolated pockets across the country. These remaining fragments are still so incredible that hope of saving them persists.

    Rainforest Trust Working to Save Madagascar’s Biodiversity 

    The flames of this hope are fanned by a number of earnest organizations trying to curb the losses and educate the people. One such organization that places Madagascar as a top conservation priority is Rainforest Trust. They are currently heading a pivotal project that aims to protect a very unique, secluded forest that sits atop a mega quartz massif, a geological formation sandwiched between the wet rainforests of the east and the dry forests of the west. Recent scientific expeditions have found treasure in the form of potential new species, and species previously associated with very different habitat types such as the endangered, dry-forest loving Ringtailed Lemur. These discoveries and those to come may represent critical pieces of Madagascar’s natural history puzzle and force into focus the country’s top conservation goals. The intention of the project is to create a 3,460 acre Lost Forest Reserve south of Ihosy city, wherein full and permanent protection will be awarded to this special area.

    Apex Supports Rainforest Trust’s Lost Forest Reserve Project

    The surrounding communities are excited to begin the work in making this dream a reality and so too are we at Apex. One of our company’s cornerstone philosophies is to give back to the places and people we visit. If we feel they are worth taking travelers to see them, they are certainly worth protecting. Part of our annual charity donation for 2017 went towards this exciting project which is now 87 percent funded.

    We look forward to following this story into the future and wish the team members every success. Isn’t it clear, that as a cohesive community, we can do anything?! When our hearts all beat together and we are moved to action, there is no impossible. Let’s make Madagascar an example of that.

    Visit the Rainforest Trust website to read more about the Lost Forest Reserve project. And plan to join us on one of our upcoming expeditions to Madagascar.

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