Plight of Madagascar Affects Us All
Madagascar Periwinkle is so named because it doesn't grow naturally anywhere else in the world except Madagascar. The flower is commonly called Rose Periwinkle and nicknamed "Old Maid". It is an evergreen shrub with dark green, glossy leaves. It has blooms that range from white to dark pink and have a small dark pink in the center.
Madagascar Moth on Delphinium
Madagascar is the fourth largest island in the world. It lies off the coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean. Madagascar has often been called the eighth continent because of its unique ecological diversity. Madagascar has both rainforests and deserts. 90% of Madagascar's native plants are located nowhere else on earth.Madagascar is a poor country. Its main sources of income are agriculture, including fishing. Forestry is another component of Madagascar's economy. Slash and burn, called tavy, has taken place extensively on the island. Slash and burn is the practice of cutting down and setting fire to huge areas of forest. This is done to provide land for agricultural purposes.Forestry and tavy have caused the loss of significant areas of forest in Madagascar. This has resulted in many animals on Madagascar becoming endangered. And the native plants of Madagascar have been significantly affected as well. It has been estimated that less than 20% of Madagascar's native fauna and flora are all that remain today.The significance of these figures affects the entire human population. Because of Madagascar's unique ecological diversity, plant and animal species are becoming extinct almost daily. The plants and animals may be of significant benefit to humankind, but are located nowhere else. Cures for various diseases may be dying along with Madagascar's native beauty and diversity.
Madagascar Periwinkle as a Cancer Treatment
Which brings us back to the Madascar Periwinkle. It has become an endangered plant species on Madagascar because of slash and burn practices. Its habitat is being destroyed daily.Madagascar Periwinkle is an invaluable plant in the field of medicine. The Chinese use the plant to treat Hodgkin's disease, diabetes, and other diseases. Modern drug companies use substances derived from Madagascar Periwinkle to treat leukemia and Hodgkins' disease. This has improved the chances for surviving childhood leukemia from 10% to a 95% survival rate.Thankfully, Madagascar Periwinkle's value as a medicinal treatment was discovered. It has become cultivated and naturalised in many other areas of the world. But how many other potentially invaluable cures for killer diseases are being destroyed on Madagascar that simply haven't been discovered?
Save Madagascar to Save Humans
Drug companies make almost 100 million dollars a year from drugs derived from the Madagascar Periwinkle. However, virtually none of that money is transferred to the poor people of Madagascar. Human greed may very well kill virtually hundreds of thousands of people, people that may have been saved with cures from the beautifully diverse island of Madagascar.
The Beauty of MadagascarClick thumbnail to view full-size
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