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Madagascar forest destruction wiping out humans' tiniest relative

Updated : 2019-09-06 20:18:23

As a shocked world watches fires ravage the Amazon, slash-and-burn farmers are wreaking proportionally worse destruction half a world away in Madagascar, driving humanity's smallest relative - the Madame Berthe’s mouse lemur - to extinction. Frustrated conservationists hope Friday's arrival of the environmentally-conscious Pope Francis will spotlight the island that lost 2% of primary rainforest last year, the highest of any tropical nation according to the World Resources Institute.

A sign warning against setting fires is seen at the Kirindy forest inside the Menabe Antimena protected area near the city of Morondava, Madagascar, September 3, 2019. REUTERS/Baz Ratner/Files
A sign warning against setting fires is seen at the Kirindy forest inside the Menabe Antimena protected area near the city of Morondava, Madagascar, September 3, 2019. REUTERS/Baz Ratner/Files
Anselme Toto Volahy, Project Manager for the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust Menabe programme is seen in a burned forest inside the Menabe Antimena protected area near the city of Morondava, Madagascar, September 3, 2019. REUTERS/Baz Ratner/Files
Anselme Toto Volahy, Project Manager for the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust Menabe programme is seen in a burned forest inside the Menabe Antimena protected area near the city of Morondava, Madagascar, September 3, 2019. REUTERS/Baz Ratner/Files
A burnt tree is all that is left from a forest in the Menabe Antimena protected area outside the village of Lambokely near city of Morondava, Madagascar, September 2, 2019. REUTERS/Baz Ratner/Files
A burnt tree is all that is left from a forest in the Menabe Antimena protected area outside the village of Lambokely near city of Morondava, Madagascar, September 2, 2019. REUTERS/Baz Ratner/Files
Corn is seen in a burnt forest Menabe Antimena protected area near the city of Morondava, Madagascar, September 2, 2019. REUTERS/Baz Ratner/Files
Corn is seen in a burnt forest Menabe Antimena protected area near the city of Morondava, Madagascar, September 2, 2019. REUTERS/Baz Ratner/Files
A red-fronted brown lemur is seen at the Kirindy forest reserve near the city of Morondava, Madagascar, September 1, 2019. REUTERS/Baz Ratner/Files
A red-fronted brown lemur is seen at the Kirindy forest reserve near the city of Morondava, Madagascar, September 1, 2019. REUTERS/Baz Ratner/Files
A fossa rests near a cabin in the Kirindy forest reserve near the city of Morondava, Madagascar, September 1, 2019. REUTERS/Baz Ratner/Files
A fossa rests near a cabin in the Kirindy forest reserve near the city of Morondava, Madagascar, September 1, 2019. REUTERS/Baz Ratner/Files
A grey mouse lemur is seen at the Kirindy forest near the city of Morondava, Madagascar, August 30, 2019. REUTERS/Baz Ratner/Files.
A grey mouse lemur is seen at the Kirindy forest near the city of Morondava, Madagascar, August 30, 2019. REUTERS/Baz Ratner/Files.
Malagasy farmer Phrosalie Anastalia Fitria Sorianain talks during an interview with Reuters the village of Lambokely near the city of Morondava, Madagascar, September 1, 2019. REUTERS/Baz Ratner/Files
Malagasy farmer Phrosalie Anastalia Fitria Sorianain talks during an interview with Reuters the village of Lambokely near the city of Morondava, Madagascar, September 1, 2019. REUTERS/Baz Ratner/Files
Malagasy farmer Sonlinde Nathaly is seen in the village of Lambokely near the city of Morondava, Madagascar, September 1, 2019. REUTERS/Baz Ratner/Files
Malagasy farmer Sonlinde Nathaly is seen in the village of Lambokely near the city of Morondava, Madagascar, September 1, 2019. REUTERS/Baz Ratner/Files
A scops owl sleeps in a tree trunk at the Kirindy forest reserve near the city of Morondava, Madagascar, September 1, 2019. REUTERS/Baz Ratner/Files
A scops owl sleeps in a tree trunk at the Kirindy forest reserve near the city of Morondava, Madagascar, September 1, 2019. REUTERS/Baz Ratner/Files
A fossa is seen at the Kirindy forest reserve near the city of Morondava, Madagascar, September 1, 2019. REUTERS/Baz Ratner/Files
A fossa is seen at the Kirindy forest reserve near the city of Morondava, Madagascar, September 1, 2019. REUTERS/Baz Ratner/Files
A Malagasy man stands next to a pile of corn in the village of Lambokely near the city of Morondava, Madagascar, September 1, 2019. REUTERS/Baz Ratner/Files
A Malagasy man stands next to a pile of corn in the village of Lambokely near the city of Morondava, Madagascar, September 1, 2019. REUTERS/Baz Ratner/Files
A red-fronted brown lemur jumps between trees at the Kirindy forest near the city of Morondava, Madagascar, September 3, 2019. REUTERS/Baz Ratner/Files
A red-fronted brown lemur jumps between trees at the Kirindy forest near the city of Morondava, Madagascar, September 3, 2019. REUTERS/Baz Ratner/Files
Burnt trees are seen Menabe Antimena protected area near the city of Morondava, Madagascar, September 1, 2019. REUTERS/Baz Ratner/Files
Burnt trees are seen Menabe Antimena protected area near the city of Morondava, Madagascar, September 1, 2019. REUTERS/Baz Ratner/Files
The remains of charred trees illegally cut are seen from the air inside the Menabe Antimena protected area near the city of Morondava, Madagascar, September 3, 2019. REUTERS/Baz Ratner/Files
The remains of charred trees illegally cut are seen from the air inside the Menabe Antimena protected area near the city of Morondava, Madagascar, September 3, 2019. REUTERS/Baz Ratner/Files
Nestor Ramakarison leads a team of forest rangers through burned trees at the Kirindy forest reserve near the city of Morondava, Madagascar, September 2, 2019. REUTERS/Baz Ratner/Files
Nestor Ramakarison leads a team of forest rangers through burned trees at the Kirindy forest reserve near the city of Morondava, Madagascar, September 2, 2019. REUTERS/Baz Ratner/Files
A family sort peanuts in the village of Lambokely near the city of Morondava, Madagascar, August 31, 2019. REUTERS/Baz Ratner/Files
A family sort peanuts in the village of Lambokely near the city of Morondava, Madagascar, August 31, 2019. REUTERS/Baz Ratner/Files
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