Madagascar’s Prime Minister Jean Omer Beriziky has announced the opening of the MaMaBay Environmental Campus created to help implement conservation programs regarding the island’s unique biodiversity including 103 species and subspecies of lemurs found nowhere else in the world, as well as. fossa, (a cat-like carnivore closely related to the mongoose), humpback whales, sharks, 300 species of birds, and 651 species of land snails, etc.
MaMaBay encompasses over 3,474 square miles of marine, coastal, and forest habitats, and includes Madagascar’s largest protected areas: Masoala National Park (a World Heritage Site) and Makira Natural Park. Together Masoala, Makira, as well as their buffer zones.
The campus consists of a welcome center and interpretive center for Masoala National Park, along with a multipurpose classroom, a viewing tower and an administration building for the newly designated Makira Natural Park. This Environmental Campus will become a key source of information and interpretive materials as well as serve as a central meeting and training location within the region, and “ was designed to explore the natural and cultural significance of Masoala National Park through the eyes of the Malagasy people,” according to the Wildlife Conservation Society, which helped build it with the aid of funding support and contributions from the Zurich Zoo, Embassy of Switzerland in Antanarivo, Rubel Family, Edith McBean, Sunshine Comes First Ltd., Tany Meva Foundation, World Bank and Holcim of Madagascar.
Madagascar is the 47th largest country and 4th largest island in the world, encompassing 228,900 sq. miles off the coast of Mozambique in eastern coast of Africa. According to scientists, the island was separated from the-Antarctica-India landmass-Africa-South America landmass around 135 million years ago.during the break-up of the supercontinent Gondwana . It then broke away from India about 88 million years ago, allowing plants and animals on the island to evolve in relative isolation. Humans, however, did not arrive there until approximately 2,350 years ago.