Madagascar is not a DreamWorks film setting where penguins and lions dwell.

Saturday, 07 August 2021

Some foreigners often get confused about Madagascar until they meet Malagasy people in person. Most of them have always believed that Madagascar was an island that only houses lemurs and fossas. A perception long shaped by … a cartoon!

Madagascar as a DreamWorks Animation.

In 2005, the world’s famous American animation studio known as DreamWorks produced an animated comedy film called “Madagascar”. Despite some critics around the plot of the animated movie and against all expectations, the film has come up trumps. It even became the sixth highest-grossing film of 2005. Who does not know this film with its cheerful original soundtrack “I Like to Move It”?

The plot summary relates the adventurous journey of four animal friends from New York, USA. The film opens with Marty, the zebra, who celebrates his tenth birthday and wishes to experience the wild. Marty and his friendsAlex, the lion, Gloria the hippo, and Melman the giraffe – spent all their years in New York’s Central Park Zoo. One day, on his anniversary, Marty grew bored with his daily routine and wanted to break it by following the zoo’s penguins who already planned to escape. The adventure of the four friends then started when they found themselves in Madagascar – where they met king Julien, the famous lemur– after they were shipped off to a Kenyan wildlife preserve and the penguins hijacked the ship.

After a big hit, the film launched a franchise and came up with “Madagascar Escape 2 Africa” released in 2008 – a sequel to the 2005 film, “Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted” (2012); and “Penguins of Madagascar” (2014).

Madagascar in real life.

Although the animated movie seems a bit far-fetched, it shows somewhat aspects of Madagascar. Some animals only Madagascar is home to are featured in the movie and play a key role in the plot. One of them is king Julien, the legendary lemur. When talking of Madagascar’s wildlife, what comes first in mind is “lemurs” because this species is native only to and endemic to the island. In the film, Madagascar is depicted as an island governed by lemurs and blessed with a rich biodiversity.

Here are five important facts about Madagascar that sometimes go unnoticed:

• Madagascar is the fourth largest island on the planet, of about 587,041 square miles, after Greenland, New Guinea, and Borneo. Madagascar is among the largest island countries in the world – with more than 28 million inhabitants in 2021 (based on Worldometers data).
• Madagascar is a sovereign state in the Ocean Indian officially proclaimed Democratic Republic of Madagascar in 1975. The island is currently named Republic of Madagascar.
• Madagascar has natural and cultural riches that make it a unique destination.
• It has a large population and is a melting pot of different cultures.
• The island is one of the world’s richest biodiversity hotspots with high rate of endemism. It is home to five percent of the world’s species. About 95 percent of Madagascar’ reptiles, 89 percent of its flora and 92 percent of its mammals exist nowhere else on Earth (WWF).

Madagascar is far from being a jungle. Madagascar is more than a cartoon. The little information most foreigners know about the country comes from an animation movie. And that can be misleading!

Sources: Los Angeles Times/JumpStart Games/ The Telegraph/ Britannica/ ONTM.

Read 417 times Last modified on Saturday, 07 August 2021 07:02
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