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Madagascar News

Nature guide freed in Madagascar 5 months after arrest for exposing rosewood trade [09/25/2015]
- Armand Marozafy, a nature guide in Madagascar, has been freed after spending 5 months in prison.
- Marozafy had been arrested for 'defamation' for exposing two businessmen allegedly linked to illegal rosewood logging.
- Critics said Marozafy's arrest undermined Madagascar's ecotourism sector, while empowering illegal loggers.

2015 Equator Prize winners span 19 countries [09/21/2015]
- The United Nations today announced 21 winners of the 2015 Equator Prize, a prestigious award that recognizes community-led environmental initiatives.
- The winners, selected from a pool of 1,461 nominations across 126 countries, include a wide range of groups from around the world.
- The winners were announced during a ceremony hosted by actor Alec Baldwin

Activist arrested while illegal loggers chop away at Madagascar’s forests [09/15/2015]
- Last February, Armand Marozafy wrote an email to a foreign consultant alleging that two local businessmen were involved in various illegal activities near Masoala National Park, a vast rainforest threatened by poaching and illegal logging.
- After the email became public, Marozafy was arrested on defamation charges in April.
- He is serving a six-month prison sentence and has been ordered to pay a fine equivalent to three times the annual salary of a Malagasy school teacher.

5 African countries agree to combat illegal timber trade [09/10/2015]
- The governments of Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Madagascar and Mozambique have agreed to work together to combat the illegal timber trade.
- Signatories include both timber source and transit countries.
- Data released Monday by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) showed that primary forest cover in sub-Saharan Africa declined by at least 6.3 million hectares over the past decade

Man starts record-breaking walk to protect one of the world’s rarest primates [09/02/2015]
- If successful, experienced trekker Ash Dykes will become the first person to walk the length of Madagascar.
- Along the way, Dykes will meet with conservation groups working to protect the island nation's threatened wildlife.
- Only around 50 northern sportive lemurs are thought to exist, largely due to heavy habitat loss from charcoal production.

Vacationing couple may have discovered a new dwarf lemur species [08/27/2015]
- A University of Kent conservation researcher and his spouse recently stumbled upon an unusual dwarf lemur on a Madagascar out island.
- The species, possibly new to science, exhibits dwarfism and tameness, characteristics common to remote species inhabiting small isolated islands.
- The discovery will require further investigation by researchers to determine if the lemur is a new species; and if it is unique, to observe and describe it.

A diamond in the marsh: Saving the Lake Alaotra Gentle Lemur [08/17/2015]
- Estimates in the 1990s put the number of Alaotra gentle lemurs at just 11,000 individuals. Today that number has dropped to below 2,500. It is the only primate to live constantly on water.
- The Alaotra wetlands are richly biodiverse, with Durrell’s Vontsira, a carnivorous mongoose-like mammal unknown to science discovered in 2004 — fewer than 465 of the animals are thought to remain.
- As Alaotra’s wetland habitat has dwindled, so too have its endangered species. However, conservation groups have had considerable success with local community based protection programs, holding out hope for these species.

Conservation win in Madagascar: 7 new reserves established [07/16/2015]
- Madagascar gets 7 new reserves located in its eastern rainforests.
- Reserves protect endangered lemurs, herps, and other species.
- Initiative led by Rainforest Trust and its local partner, Madagasikara Voakajy.

Sustainable conservation in the Ibity Massif: a new protected area in Madagascar [12/05/2001]
The rate of deforestation and species extinction are increasing worldwide, and substantial efforts are being made to establish new protected areas (NPAs), build local environmental organizations and improve management of new preserves.

Invasion of Poisonous Asian toad in Madagascar is a greater threat to biodiversity than previously thought [12/05/2001]
Invasive species are among the greatest threats to the world’s biodiversity, and amphibians rank among the most devastating vertebrate invaders. That’s why the discovery of the Asian toad (Duttaphrynus melanostictus) in Madagascar’s second largest city and main port of Toamasina in March 2014 so alarmed conservationists.

Photos: periodic closure of fishing grounds boosts octopuses and helps coastal communities [12/05/2001]
For communities that depend on fishing for their livelihoods, fishing bans as a way to conserve marine life are not always popular. But some villages in southwest Madagascar seem to have hit upon a strategy to reap economic gains from bans. Temporarily closing down portions of their octopus-fishing areas every year not only helps villages revive declining octopus populations, but also generates more income for fishermen and fisherwomen, according to a new study.

Up to 11 stunningly colorful chameleon species discovered in Madagascar [05/26/2015]
The panther chameleon, a lizard prized in the pet trade for its remarkable color changing abilities, may actually represent 11 different species, report researchers writing in the journal Molecular Ecology. Analyzing the genetics of more than 300 individual panther chameleons, Swiss and Malagasy researchers make a case that different color morphs of Furcifer pardalis may be distinct species.

Borneo’s rainforest may get high-tech 3D scan to boost conservation [05/04/2015]
Conservation efforts in Borneo's embattled rainforest may get a boost with the launch of the newest version of an advanced airplane-based monitoring and assessment system. On Friday, the Carnegie Institution officially unveiled the latest upgrade of the Carnegie Airborne Observatory, an airplane equipped with technologies that enable scientists to conduct extremely high resolution scans of forest structure, biomass, and biological diversity. The platform has generated a wealth of information in places where it has been flown before.

Innovative community fisheries initiative wins top social entrepreneurship prize [04/13/2015]
A program that helps restore overfished areas through community-based marine conservation has won the Skoll Foundation's top prize for social entrepreneurship. Today the Skoll announced Blue Ventures, which piloted its approach in Madagascar a decade ago before expanding to other regions, was one of four organizations to be honored with the $1.25 million Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship.

Chocolate company, NGO work together to save lemurs [03/30/2015]
Despite its biodiversity and unique plants and animals, Anjanaharibe-Sud Special Reserve hosts only around a dozen tourists each year. In an effort to increase tourism and research opportunities, the Lemur Conservation Foundation will be using the money raised during the Madécasse promotion to develop Camp Indri - the reserve’s only authorized tourist site.

Madagascar’s frog haven: rich, underexplored, threatened [03/04/2015]
Madagascar is a treasure trove of frogs. Located off the east coast of Africa, this large island nation has more than 500 species of frogs, many of which are found nowhere else in the world. Much of Madagascar’s rich biodiversity remains understudied. As researchers comb through the country’s forests, they continue to discover previously undescribed species of frogs, adding to Madagascar’s amphibian diversity.

Rainforest loss increased in the 2000s, concludes new analysis [02/25/2015]
Loss of tropical forests accelerated roughly 60 percent during the 2000s, argues a paper published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. The findings contradict previous research suggesting that deforestation slowed since the 1990s. The study is based on a map of 1990 forest cover developed last year by Do-Hyung Kim and colleagues from the University of Maryland. The map, which includes 34 countries that contain 80 percent of the world's tropical forests, enabled the researchers to establish a consistent baseline for tracking forest cover change across regions and countries over time.

$7 million could save lemurs from extinction [02/25/2015]
Last year, scientists released an emergency three-year plan that they argued could, quite literally, save the world's lemurs from mass extinction. Costing just $7.6 million, the plan focused on setting up better protections in 30 lemur hotspots. However, there was one sticking point: donating to small programs in one of the world's poorest countries was not exactly user friendly.

Campaign asks consumers to directly support forest conservation [02/18/2015]
A new campaign is calling on consumers to directly support forest conservation with their wallets. Stand For Trees is an initiative launched by Code REDD, a marketing platform for a group of organizations running REDD+ forest conservation projects.

Madagascar establishes a sanctuary for sharks [02/06/2015]
The government of Madagascar has established the Indian Ocean island's first shark sanctuary in an area famous for its marine biodiversity, reports the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS).

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  • Madagascar, 9th: The Bradt Travel Guide
  • Madagascar Wildlife, 3rd: A Visitor's Guide
  • Mammals of Madagascar: A Complete Guide
  • Madagascar Travel Pack
  • Birds of the Indian Ocean Islands
  • Birds of Madagascar: A Photographic Guide
  • Lonely Planet Madagascar & Comoros
  • The Natural History of Madagascar
  • Malagasy-English: Dictionary and Phrasebook
  • Lords and Lemurs
  • The Eighth Continent: Life, Death, and Discovery in the Lost World of Madagascar
  • The Aye-Aye and I : A Rescue Journey to Save One of the World's Most Intriguing Creatures from Extinction
  • Shadows in the Dawn: The Lemurs of Madagascar