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The Unique Evolution Of Islands

The Unique Evolution Of Islands

25th November 2011
Kakapo

Although many of the world's hundreds of thousands of islands appear to be isolated and barely inhabited, these individual eco-systems are actually home to some of the rarest and weirdest species on the planet that have evolved in these remote regions without disturbance for thousands, if not millions of years.

Island species differ greatly from place to place as they have each adapted individually in these unique habitats, and historically, often without the presence of both large and small mammalian predators. This has led to numerous species behaving in ways not seen in other areas of the world, as this has been their most effective course of survival.


Fossa

New Zealand is home to two of the most unique bird species in the world which are the Kiwi and the planet's heaviest parrot, the Kakapo. Neither species are able to fly and so spend their whole lives on the ground. With the introduction of small animals such as Stoats, Cats and Dogs however, both species are now severely threatened.

The large island of Madagascar also has it's fair share of animals that are found exclusively in it's dwindling forests with the most famous being the nearly 100 different species of Lemur. The island's largest predator is the Fossa and this nocturnal, agile creature has evolved perfectly for catching Lemurs in the trees.

Proboscis Monkey

Borneo however, is one of the most diverse islands on Earth with it's dense, tropical jungles providing a home to numerous unique species. The Bornean Orang-Utan and the Proboscis Monkey are not just two of the most well-known but are also amongst the most endangered as like the vast majority of unique and rich island habitats, they are severely affected by drastic deforestation.

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