In September 2016 we travelled to Madagascar, the fourth largest island in the world. It is about the area of Texas and has a population of approximately 24 million. Seventy five percent of the people live in poverty with the yearly per capita income being $412. Sanitation is very poor. Improved sanitation is considered having flush or pour-flush toilet or pit latrine with slab or composting toilet. Only 12 percent of the population has improved sanitation. Eighty percent work in small scale agriculture with seventy percent of the population working in rice farming and most people eat rice for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The median age is 19.5 (U.S. is 37.9 years).
It is estimated that 90 percent of the original forest is gone from clearing the land for farming, and using wood for cooking (charcoal). There are 105 species of lemurs with 41 percent of them being threatened. More than half of the chameleon species in the world are found in Madagascar.
Madagascar completed its separation from Africa, Antarctica, and India around 90 million years ago. More than 75% of the 200,000 species of plants and animals evolved into species that exist no where else on earth. People didn't arrive until around 2000 years ago and 1000 years later most of the large animals became extinct.
We focused our trip on visiting national parks to see lemurs, chameleons, frogs, insects and other animals. We also saw lots of unusual plants. We saw a lot of amazing things on our trip, but we had to work physically hard for many of our great sightings.