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The Wilds of Madagascar
Questions and Responses #2
Posted June 1, 2000
Previous set


I noticed that in the section, Windows on Madagascar:Rainforest, you mention that pygmy hippos are now extinct. Do you mean in the wild? I ask this because the Gladys Porter Zoo, located in Brownsville, TX, has two or three of them. Just thought I'd mention this in case you would be interested. Also, I absolutely enjoy NOVA Online...never dull!

(name withheld by request)

Response from Peter Tyson, NOVA Online Producer:

Thanks for your note. The pygmy hippos at the Gladys Porter Zoo must be West African pygmy hippos, which still live in that part of the world. Though they were closer in size to West African pygmy hippos, Madagascar's two species of pygmy hippos, which are sadly both extinct, were thought to be more closely related to the much larger common African hippo.


What is it like to travel around the world?

Lukas Brunzelle
General Mitchell
Cudahy, Wisconsin

Response from Peter Tyson, NOVA Online Producer:

I find it fascinating to travel around the world, seeing different places, meeting different people and learning about their cultures, and encountering plants and animals and even whole landscapes I've never seen before. It's also a good way to have a clearer view about your own natural and cultural world. For me it's kind of an addiction. Some people say they have a travel bug; I have a travel disease, particularly when it comes to exotic adventure travel.


Ever since I got my first Madagascar Hissing Cock Roach, I have wondered what Madagascar was like, because I wanted to be an entropologist there. I thank you so much on this info. you have shared with me, because I have searched the library, encycopeidias, the internet(until i found you all), and almost any were. And if you have any idea where I can buy a book on speaking Malagasy, please let me know. THANKS!!!

Gold Hill Middle School
Fort Mill, SC

Response from Peter Tyson, NOVA Online Producer:

Isn't the Madagascar hissing cockroach a fascinating creature? I haven't seen any on this trip yet, though I have seen thousands of good old American cockroaches that somehow found their way into the caves of the Ankarana Reserve. Madagascar has many mysteries like that, which is one of the reasons why it is such an intriguing place. These include: How did Madagascar come to have so many plants and animals unique to it? How is it that the people who originally settled this island off Africa originally came from Indonesia? What caused all native Madagascar animals weighing over about 25 pounds, including giant lemurs and elephant birds, to go extinct sometime in the past 2,000 years?

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