These Newly-Discovered (And Adorably Cute) Chameleons May Help Save The Rainforest

Eleven varieties of chameleons were recently discovered, and scientists believe they may be the key in helping to save Madagascar rainforests.

If you seek a dose of positivity and cuteness overload in one article, read on… 

Panther chameleons, which are native to Madagascar, were initially thought to be a single species. But new DNA tests reveal that there area actually eleven different species of panther chameleons, and they’ve been living on the island of Madagascar all along.

As it turns out, panther chameleons have a “super power” of sorts when it comes to environmental issues – their cuteness factor. Really.

According to conservation biologists, the cuteness of these chameleons labels them as a “charismatic species”, and that quality is key in making people sympathetic to them.

In other words, humans are horribly superficial and are more likely to rally to save cute tigers than a less-than-attractive (yet still endangered) variety of insect.

Credit: flchams.com

Credit: flchams.com

That “super power” may serve in a number of species’ favor, then, as word spreads of these little guys and the need to preserve the rainforests in which they live. With  40-50% of Madagascar rainforests already estimated to have been felled, this discovery comes at a necessary time.

If you’re inspired to help, you can support the rainforest conservation efforts at the World Land Trust, a charity with a 20-year track record of successful environmental projects and Sir David Attenborough as a patron.

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