Voeltzkow’s chameleon unseen for over a century re-discovered in Madagascar

Good News Notes:

“Every day, the biodiversity of Planet Earth diminishes by an astonishing amount. According to a comprehensive 2007 survey conducted by 2,500 experts representing 130 countries at the U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity, we are currently experiencing the biggest extinction wave since the vanishing of the dinosaurs, with between 18,000 and 55,000 species disappearing every year.

So it’s with great fanfare that a brightly-hued little chameleon making its home in Madagascar has triumphantly reappeared after a 100-year absence. Last week, biologists and conservationists announced the miraculous reemergence of the Voeltzkow’s chameleon (Furcifer voeltzkowi) in the journal Salamandra.

This striking, color-changing creature sporting black-and-white striped skin accented with stunning orange-red dots and a long slash of purple was last seen back in 1913. Indigenous to the island of Madagascar, the rare lizard has been off the grid for over a century, and no living human being had ever seen a female of the species, until now.

‘The Voeltzkow’s chameleon adds color and beauty to the planet, and reminds us that even when all seems lost, a great adventure can rekindle hope even for species we haven’t seen since Woodrow Wilson was president,’ said Don Church, the president of Global Wildlife Conservation. “Now we have so much to learn about this extraordinary reptile, including how we can best save it from extinction.”

Global Wildlife Conservation bankrolled and led the original 2018 expedition into the forests of northwestern Madagascar in conjunction with its Search for Lost Species program. The goal was to present new discoveries to bolster interest in the conservation of those rare species unseen for more than a decade, but to also gain a better understanding of their individual habitats and ecosystems.

‘I thought we might have a good chance of rediscovering Voeltzkow’s chameleon, but I was surprised that it took so long and that it was so difficult,’ noted Frank Glaw, head of the Department of Vertebrates at the Bavarian State Collection of Zoology, who headed up the expedition. ‘Our efforts were entirely unsuccessful during most of the trip to find it where we thought it would most likely be.’”

View the whole story here: https://www.syfy.com/syfywire/madagascar-chameleon-rediscovered-after-100-year-absence?amp

Originally published at https://www.focusonthegoodnews.com on February 6, 2021.

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