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Nation/World

Large Rain Forest To Be Preserved In Madagascar

Thu., Oct. 16, 1997, midnight

Madagascar is establishing a national park to preserve its largest rain forest, which includes delicate ecosystems and some of the world’s rarest animals.

President Didier Ratsiraka is expected to sign a law this week to create the Masoala National Park, which will cover 840 square miles of the Masoala peninsula in northeastern Madagascar, environmentalists said Wednesday.

Madagascar, an island nation off the southeastern coast of Africa, has one of the world’s most unusual and diverse environments, from tropical rain forests to arid savanna. It also has rare animals, including the red-ruffed lemur, Madagascar red owl and serpent eagle - all three found nowhere else in the world.

Masoala also has tropical forests, an extensive coral reef, 22 rare butterfly species and the greatest diversity of palm species in the world.

Three groups that worked with the government to establish the park hailed it as a progressive step that balances modern development with the conservation of natural resources.



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