The Deadliest Carnivore

Discover Magazine

The Deadliest Carnivore

By Vicki Croke

Half mongoose, half clouded leopard, Madagascar’s fossa is rarely seen and barely understood yet essential to the natural balance of this threatened Eden.

This killing machine called a fossa will go after the biggest prey it can sink its teeth into, even dominant female lemurs in Madagascar's forests. Photo: Roy Toft.

This killing machine called a fossa will go after the biggest prey it can sink its teeth into, even dominant female lemurs in Madagascar’s forests. Photo: Roy Toft.

We are hiking in silence, at a fast clip, up a nearly vertical ridge in Madagascar’s Ampijoroa National Park. It’s seven o’clock on a winter morning, but the temperature is already settling into the high 90’s –a wall of heat through which we struggle to carry our gear and gain some traction from the sandy soil. Overhead, stands of baobab and rosewood trees rise more than 60 feet into the sky, opening out into an airy, inviting canopy. Down here, the forest is a tangle of lianas, shrubs, and saplings. We are scratched and bruised and desperate for a sign –any sign– of our quarry… READ MORE

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