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Old 09-22-03, 02:18 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Madagascar To Triple Conservation

I thought this was exciting... so I thought I would share it with you guys!! I'm happy Madagascar has finally become such a priority, seeing as its diversity and uniqueness (if that's a word) is absolutely amazing. Woohoo!

From Animal Planet

Sept. 17, 2003 "Madagascar plans to more than triple the number of its protected sites to halt an alarming decline in its unique environment, the country's President Marc Ravalomanana said Tuesday.

"We can no longer sit back and allow our forests to go up in flames," Ravalomanana told delegates at the fifth World Parks Congress under way in the eastern port city of Durban.

"We have to adapt a strategy to conserve our forest heritage and marine resources," he told the conference, a once-a-decade event focusing on how to manage and safeguard protected areas.

Ravalomanana said the number of protected sites on Madagascar, the world's fourth largest island which separated from the African mainland some 165 million years ago, will be increased from the current three percent to 10 percent of the territory over the next five years.

"Madagascar is filled with natural riches and unique species," he said, "but we have nine million hectares (22 million acres) of forests endangered by rice growing and the use of firewood."

The Indian Ocean island, which is estimated to have lost 80 percent of its original forest cover, has an existing network of 1.7 million hectares (4.25 million acres) of protected areas, and plans to expand that more than threefold.

"I would like to state the commitment today to raise that coverage to six million hectares (15 million acres) within the next five years," Ravalomanana said.

The 15 million acres include an expansion of marine areas from almost 500,000 acres to about 2.5 million acres.

He said the environment ministry in impoverished Madagascar has been ordered to draw up a plan of action to implement the 10 percent goal.

"We will involve all the people of Madagascar to work together. The problem is not only receiving money but also to ask the population involved to protect the environment. That is the key."

WWF International Director General Claude Martin said the announcement was one of the major outcomes of the parks congress which will adopt a "Durban Accord" at its closing Wednesday, setting out objectives for the next 10 years.

"This is perhaps the most relevant statement made in Durban ... but we still have a long way to go," he said.

Conservation International President Russell Mittermeier said, "Madagascar is one of the world's highest priority hot spots and a leading megadiversity country, with levels of endemism unlike any place on Earth."

Humans settled in Madagascar between 1,500 and 2,000 years ago, and the island's plants and animals developed in pristine isolation, with more than 10,000 species found nowhere else in the world.

It is home to half of the world's chameleons, including the dwarf chameleon that is only a little over an inch long and one of the world's smallest vertebrates. Of the country's 189 amphibians, all but one or two occur only in Madagascar.

The island is well known for its 51 different kinds of lemur, a mostly tree-dwelling mammal. Its species include the tiny pygmy mouse lemur discovered in 1985 and the most unusual aye-aye which has huge ears, shaggy fur and a very thin middle finger on each hand.

New lemur species are still being discovered the golden bamboo lemur was found in 1986 and the critically endangered Tattersall's sifaka was identified only in 1988.

Its bird species are rapidly declining, with no fewer than four critically endangered, including the Madagascar serpent eagle and the Madagascar fish eagle."

Cool, eh?
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Old 09-22-03, 02:22 PM   #2 (permalink)
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w00t w00t - save the chams
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Old 09-22-03, 02:25 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Thats great news!!!

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Old 09-22-03, 03:12 PM   #4 (permalink)
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WOOHOO Good news!! Finally something's being done. I think sSnakeSs should have a way for its members to contribute to the conservation of Madagascar. Madagascar has like 50% of the world's diversity in nature, it's an amazing place.

And like Jason said, SAVE THE CHAMS!

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Old 09-22-03, 03:30 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Awesome news.
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Old 09-22-03, 03:36 PM   #6 (permalink)
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That a very good news, conservation is the way to go!!!

That also means that Madagascar will be available for us herpers to visit! (the money from CONTROLLED eco tourism will motivate them even more to saveguard the environment)
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Old 09-22-03, 04:41 PM   #7 (permalink)
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As promising as that announcement appears to be, we have to remember that ruling political entities in Madgascar have a 3-5 year life expectancy. Grand statements have been made in the past, only to be tossed after the next coup. In addition, areas that are supposed to receive protection by the government are frequently logged, burned, or otherwise exploited by local people that have no other alternatives to feed their families.

With all the conflicting ethnic and social elements fighting for recognition on the Malagasy political stage, it is likely that we will see many more changes of the guard before true stability reigns. Issues such as literacy and poverty need to be dealt with before conservation legislation can be truly effective. For the most part, the Malagasy people resent our desire to see more protected habitat. For every dollar we donate to preserve their forests, a family may have to go without another meal because they weren't able to produce enough charcoal to sell.

If we really want to make a difference, we should lend our support and encouragement to programs emphasizing sustainable economic development and education. Foreign investments channelling profits away from the country are not the answer, neither is the simple designation of preservation areas and parks.

The path to preserving the island's flora and fauna starts with accepting and respecting the region's cultural and social diversity. After establishing some measure of mutual trust, we can assist in improving their living standards without ramming western values and influence down their throats as we have in so many other countries around the world. Under the right set of circumstances, and with capable people in the right positions, Madagascar will regain it's environmental composure and improve it's economic status simultaneously.

Until then, I'd have to take these proposals with a grain of salt and a measure of historical perspective.

my3bits, sorry for the essay

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Old 09-22-03, 04:46 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Awsome news!
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