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Animal in the movie "Madagascar", but what about in reality?
In the animated movie "Madagascar", the characters have escaped from New York Zoo and ended up in The Wild in Madagascar. The Wild has advantages over living in the zoo, freedom for example, but it's not idealistic and the problems include where to get food. This is an especially notable point as one of the leading characters is a lion!
As it's a cartoon animated film you don't expect it to be an exact copy of reality, but nevertheless there are some good philosophical points which are portrayed quite cleverly.
In the movie, the characters meet up with a big tribe of friendly furry critters, and unsurprisingly these fit quite well with the real Madagascar in being that well-known Madagascar life-form, Lemurs.
In the Western world, people generally know about lemurs from nature documentaries on National Geographic and other informative TV channels. However, there is an apparent anomaly in the movie, as the tribal lemurs are in fear of a set of critters they term "The Foosa". In fact they are quite pleased about the visitors including Alex the Lion as he's "going to keep the Foosa away"!
People might say "It's a film! It's fantasy! There's no such thing as Foosa!". But on looking into this, it turns out there is such a thing. The "foosa" are a reality. Amazingly, a fantasy cartoon animated film has brought to light something in the physical world.
In Madagascar, the movie, lemurs are in fear of a foosas, which are a small but fierce predatory creature.
In Madagascar, the country, a big island to the East of Africa, lemurs are not the top species, but are predated upon by a catlike creature called the Fossa, except that the word "Fossa" is pronounced "Foosa". Bigger than a domestic cat but smaller than a leopard, fossas would indeed have something to fear from a lion.
Incidentally, the foosa is not a hyena (a claim made by one website), and let's not worry about the foosa attack lyrics on mobile phone ringtone sites as they don't seem to have much helpful to say.
More about the fossa (pronounced "foosa") here:
www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/transcripts/3102_croccave.html - ask Luke Dollar
Incidentally, the fossa/foosa is an endangered species. Maybe the first step to saving it from extinction is to know it exists! OK, it eats lemurs, but you want to Save the Tiger, and the tiger is carnivorous too. You did know the tiger is carnivorous, didn't you?
Update 2011: Fossa/Foosa are now very rare. They're rarer than the albatross, and they're rarer than the panda. Now might be a good idea to Save the Fossa!