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New population of nearly extinct Madagascar chameleon discovered

Scientists have discovered a new population of the Belalanda chameleon (Furcifer belalandaensis), boosting hope for one of Madagascar’s rarest chameleons.

While the species was known only from a handful of trees in two Malagasy villages, researchers from the University of Kent’s Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE) have discovered another population near a third village.

According to DICE professor, Richard Griffiths, the discovery is “very important for [the Belalanda chameleon], which is probably one of the world’s rarest reptiles.”

Griffiths adds that, “Habitat loss and degradation is the main threat to chameleons and biodiversity in general in Madagascar. Our teams are working closely with local communities and our partners to raise awareness of the plight of these amazing creatures.”

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