Day 98 of #the100dayproject and my #realandendangered project. Today, I present the Desperate leaf chameleon, endemic to the Foret d’Ambre Special Reserve in northern Madagascar. Here are a few facts about the species: 1. It can quickly change the color of its body when under stress. 2. Their scientific name, "Brookesia desperata" is derived from the Latin “desperatus,” meaning “desperate” due to the worrying habitat destruction occurring within its range. 3. Like other Brookesia chameleons, they use their tail like a ‘fifth leg’ when walking. 4. They are small, measuring no more than 3 cm from snout to vent (just slightly over an inch). 5. They are an arboreal species and tend to be found resting on small branches/ leaves at night.
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature currently lists them as "critically endangered." Despite the fact that the Foret d’Ambre is a nature reserve (established in 1958), it has not been immune from clearing for agriculture, charcoal production, timber extraction, small-scale quarrying, and cattle grazing. The reserve's habitat loss and fragmentation in turn puts stress on and threatens the species within its range, including the Desperate leaf chameleon. There are no current conservation plans for the chameleon, but due to the cause of its decline, the focus needs to be on protecting the reserve. As the IUCN notes, efforts need to be made to conserve the remaining forest inside the reserve, one that includes not only improved enforcement activities, but engagement with local communities. #enmlillustration #thesadhappy #digitalart