German scientists discovered a new species of chameleon in Madagascar, and hope to draw attention to destruction of essential habitat in that country by naming the species after Tarzan, the fictional jungle hero.
Named Calumma tarzan, researchers hope this “flagship species” will bring awareness to the bio-diversity of central and eastern Madagascar and encourage the creation of logging-free areas.
The new chameleon is discussed in the most recent issue of Salamandra Journal (PDF) as “a tarzan yell for for conservation” and the authors of the article propose that it be used as a mascot species for the creation of new nature reserves in Madagascar.
According to Innovations Report, the Tarzan chameleon should be considered “critically endangered” because its recent distribution area covers probably less than 4 square miles, there is continuing decline in the extent and quality of much of its habitat, and none of the habitats are included in the network of protected areas yet.
Despite public outcry, Madagascar’s government legalized the export of rosewood logs earlier this year, and many believed that this would encouraged renewed logging of the country’s embattled rainforest parks (Mongobay.com).
Philip-Sebastian Gehring, the lead author of an article describing the animal, said, “The Tarzan chamaeleon is going to use his celebrity name to promote protection for this last patch of forest.”
Image Copyright Frank Glaw - Innovations Report