The American Museum of Natural’ History's summer expedition to Madagascar yielded some "devastating" news about the health--that is, the lack of it—of the country’s unique flora and fauna, says museum biologist Melanie Stiassny. During the first comprehensive survey of ichthyofauna in the country, Stiassny and biologist Peter Reinthal discovered a new species of silverside fish and several primitive species of cichlid fish. But they also found that rain forest destruction is endangering fish as well as plants, birds, and mammals. Fish require the forrest just as much as the lemurs,” explains Stiassny. In an effort to get the message across, she passed her findings on to Duke primatologist Patricia Wright, who has been actively lobbying for new conservation reserves in Madagascar. Fortunately, the Madagascar government appears to be listening. It is expected to soon sign legislation creating a new reserve named Ranomafana National Park.

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