March 2010 Archives

Madagascar's Silky Sifakas


Worldwide, islands harbor some of our planet's most rare and fascinating species. The island of Madagascar, located off the eastern coast of Africa, is no exception. With abundant biodiversity, the island provides a home to 8 plant families, 4 bird families, and 5 primate families that are endemic, or found nowhere else on earth. One of Madagascar's most famed endemic species is the lemur, a small primate found in the island's forests.



State of the Birds


Found on every continent and on islands around the world, birds are one of our planet's most magnificent creatures. But today, bird species face existential threats from climate change, pollution, habitat destruction, and other environmental disasters. With the release of the 2010 "State of the Birds" report, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has provided an up-to-date accounting of the potential effects of climate change on birds--and arrived at chilling conclusions. 


Welcome back to Seacology's "Islands 101" blog series! Knowing that not everyone eats, sleeps, and breathes islands, we've put together some basic information to help bring you up to speed on the ins and outs of island conservation. If you haven't already, check out our first "Islands 101" post, which covered island geography and ecosystems. 

The palm covered islands of Lakshadweep make up what is arguably the least known part of India. These 36 islands, totaling a mere 18 square miles, lie 180 miles off of India's western coast. Ninety-three percent of the 60,000 residents are Muslim giving these islands their own distinct culture. Nonetheless, mention the Lakshadweeps to experienced travel agents in the U.S. and you are likely to be greeted by vacant stares. Susan-India-pics-2010-040.jpgVery few visitors come here from the U.S. and in fact special permits are needed to visit all but a few of the Lakshadweep Islands.

After a 90 minute flight from the subcontinent, our small group was met on the island of Agatti by Seacology's newest field representative, Vineeta Hoon. We were escorted to our boat by several locals performing a traditional knife dance (pictured right). We then boarded a boat for a two hour ride to Bangaram Island, our home for the next few days.