Africa
17 Sep 2015

Partners come together to save unique wetland

Sunrise over Lake Kinkony (P Volpini)
By Martin Fowlie

A new joint project between two BirdLife Partners aims to protect a unique protected area in Western Madagascar.

Over a quarter of a million hectares of different habitats, ranging from the famous Madagascar dry deciduous forests to highly biodiverse wetlands and distinctive marine estuaries, form the Mahavavy-Kinkony wetland Complex. However, the area is threatened with illegal logging, uncontrolled forest fires and pollution, endangering local communities, nature and destroying important natural resources.

NABU (BirdLife in Germany) and Asity Madagascar have now joined forces to protect this unique region. The project is being supported by the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) which is supporting NABU also in other countries such as Ethiopia.

"NABU and Asity will support the local communities in conserving their environment through practical conservation while improving living standards by introducing sustainable alternative income generating activities", said NABU’s Thomas Tennhardt. "I look forward to the cooperation with our BirdLife Partner in Madagascar."

In 2001, the region was designated as an Important Bird and Biodiversity Area, because of some of threatened bird species found there, such as Madagascar Sacred Ibis and Madagascar Fish-eagleAsity has successfully been working with the local communities in the area since 2008. 

"In April 2015, the area was awarded permanent protection status by the Madagascan Government, due to Asity's longstanding work in the region", said  Vony Raminoarisoa, Director of Asity Madagascar.

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Asity will now be able to work with local communities to formalise user rights in the area and to create more awareness to safeguard the area. As the local communities rely on the services that this area provides for their daily needs, the protection of these natural resources is absolutely necessary for these communities to survive.