It has been a dream of mine, ever since I was a young boy of 7 years old to travel to a mysterious little island off the east coast of Africa, which had and still has the title of “Island of Marvels”, this of course is Madagascar.[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″]

[/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][text_output] It is home to an incredible amount of fauna and flora, this country boasts having some of the most unique wildlife on planet and being the one of the biggest biodiversity hotspots for a wide range of enthusiasts from Bird Watchers to Herpetologists.

For me, it all started when old black and white clips came on during a BBC documentary with Sir David Attenborough, I sat watching Sir David walking around woodlands and climbing trees to find species of chameleons. I remember wondering where he was and then the caption came on stating it was footage from “Zoo Quest to Madagascar – 1961”. That was it, I had to look into this strange place so grabbed a child’s encyclopedia and started flicking through the pages. When I did find something about Madagascar, little did I know that what I found would change my life completely, shaping my entire future. I saw these incredibly small but brightly coloured species of Anuran that possessed the name of “Mantella”, they were so beautiful that it started a passion which expanded to all wildlife endemic to this amazing island. I was hooked, and nothing could stop that! And now, I finally got my chance to go for the first time, the first time of many I might add.

But I think, before you start to read about my travels that you should perhaps have a short history of this amazing country.

Around 88 million years ago, when the prehistoric supercontinent known as Gondwana or Gondwanaland began to separate its land mass into pieces, the small chunk of land, which will eventually be known as Madagascar, which measured 228,900 square miles started to move away from mainland India, this of course is what came to be known as Madagascar.

However, the island is facing severe problems caused by human activity, with serious declines in its naturally-occurring habitats. It is believed, since the first settling humans arrived 1500 years ago, the habitats have declined by approximately 90% or more leaving little condensed pockets of National Parks scattered throughout the island and what is even more concerning, 40% of the above percentage has in fact occurred in the past 60 years alone.

I hope you will enjoy this blog accounting the details of my trip. Of what I encounter, see, touch and have to go through to see these amazing animals where they belong.

Thank you, until next time.

Read Part 2 here.

Joshua Ralph
(MantellaMan)[/text_output][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][line][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/6″]

[/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”5/6″][text_output]Joshua Samuel Ralph, a Zoo Keeper specialising in the field of Batrachology (Studying Amphibians), has specialised and fantastised about keeping and working with Amphibia species since he was 7 years old. Joshua seeks a career in Conservation of all Amphibian life, however with one particular genus in mind, the Mantella frog of Madagascar, which he has been breeding as a private keeper for most of his life. After spending some time in Madagascar, Joshua truly saw the issues and threats that not only Amphibians face in the wild but also most species of Fauna and Flora across the island. From writing in media publications including Magazines and working in the field, Joshua hopes that he will not only raise awareness for conservation efforts of Amphibia but also his passion for this truly remarkable Class of life on Earth using many different methods, now including the ASA & ASG.[/text_output][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][/vc_column][/vc_row]
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