The 20th largest island on Earth is Madagascar, located off the southeastern coast of Africa. The island nation covers an area of 226,917 square miles (587,295 square kilometers), making it the fourth largest island in the world. Madagascar is home to a diverse array of plant and animal life, much of which is found nowhere else on Earth. Lemurs, chameleons, and baobab trees are just some of the unique species that call Madagascar home.
Madagascar’s long isolation from other landmasses has resulted in a high degree of endemism among its flora and fauna. Approximately 90% of the plants and animals found on Madagascar are found nowhere else on Earth. This includes such iconic species as the ring-tailed lemur and the fossa (a cat-like carnivore). The island’s unique ecology has been threatened in recent years by deforestation and habitat loss due to human activity. As a result, many of Madagascar’s endemic species are now endangered or extinct.