WWF welcomes new national park in Madagascar | WWF
WWF welcomes new national park in Madagascar

Posted on 28 September 2002

WWF today welcomed the establishment of the Zombitse-Vohibasia National Park, in Madagascar.
Antanarivo, Madagascar - WWF today welcomed the establishment of the Zombitse-Vohibasia National Park, in Madagascar.

Inaugurated today by the Malagasy government, the new park is located in the South-western semi-arid region of Madagascar. The Zombitse-Vohibasia National Park covers 36,000ha of what are the largest remnants of the island's deciduous dry forests, and is home to 86 species of birds.

It is also one of the few Malagasy regions in which the Ring-tailed Lemur and Brown Lemur live together. Towards the end of 1998, the area came under threat when deposits of sapphire were discovered nearby, attracting tens of thousands of migrants within a few weeks. However, an action plan was put in place with WWF's help, to ensure proper management of the sapphire mining.

"Thanks to a plan that involved the local communities, miners, administrative authorities, traditional leaders, and the park authorities, the threat from sapphire mining has been averted, as miners have promised to obey the laws associated with protecting the environment," explained Koto Bernard, National Director of the Zombitse-Vohibasia Project.

Ecotourism has also made considerable strides in the Zombitse-Vohibasia region, and such programmes are being widely developed in the South-western part of Madagascar. Since 1994, WWF - and various partners - have been promoting a community-based conservation approach in the vicinity of the park, to both maintain the biological richness of the site, and take into account local social, cultural, and economic interests. Patriarch and villager associations also play a crucial role for the project, in that they have helped to form a favourable partnership to advance conservation and development activities.

"The Bara community is a natural ally for WWF because of its traditions, and social and economic way of life. Bara patriarchs are the guardians of the Zombitse-Vohibasia sacred forest", said Lantosoa Ramarojaona, Coordinator of Integrated Conservation and Development Projects at the WWF Madagascar and Western Indian Ocean Programme Office.

"Zombitse-Vohibasia National Park may be considered as a real reflection of the harmony between local communities and nature".

For further information:
Lantosoa RamarojaonaI
CDP Coordinator, WWF Madagascar and Western Indian Ocean Programme Office
Tel.: +261 20 22 348 85 or +261 20 22 304 20
E-mail: LPRamarojaona@wwf.mg

Sylvain Rafiadana-Ntsoa
Communications Officer, WWF Madagascar and Western Indian Ocean Programme Office
Tel.: +261 20 22 348 85 or +261 20 22 304 20
E-mail : Srafiadana@wwf.mg

Olivier van Bogaert
Press Officer, WWF International
Tel.: +41 22 364 9554
E-mail: ovanbogaert@wwfint.org

NOTES TO EDITORS
  • Zombitse-Vohibasia is one of WWF's Global ecoregions — a science-based global ranking of the world's most biologically outstanding habitats and the regions on which WWF concentrates its efforts
  • WWF has been carrying out integrated conservation and development activities in Zombitse-Vohibasia in collaboration with the National Association for the Management of Protected Areas (ANGAP) and with funding from the Malagasy Government, WWF-Norway, and NORAD (the Norwegian Development Agency).
  • Zombitse-Vohibasia National Park is located in the Bara region where social and economic activities focus on zebu cattle breeding. Forests constitute natural zones for pasture and penning and therefore are given conservation value. Patriarchs and traditional leaders play crucial roles in the everyday life of the community. Also, the site of Vohimena is a royal Bara necropolis. This sacred character is of considerable importance in the conservation process.
  • WWF supported the implementation of villager associations whose activities, and relations in general, are based on Dina, a traditional community agreement, which aims to regulate natural resources use and exploitation.
  • Scientific names: Lemur catta, Ring-tailed lemur, and Eulemur fulvus rufus, Brown lemur.
Ring-tailed lemur (Lemur catta).
© WWF / Martin Harvey