Nature pictures from Madagascar
These images were taken by Mongabay founder Rhett A. Butler over the course of several trips to Madagascar between 1997 and 2019.
The images are organized into galleries, the most popular of which are presented below.
The bottom of this page includes recent conservation news from Madagascar.
Madagascar nature news
Newly described gecko from Madagascar a master of disguise (September 14, 2023)
- Madagascar is a hotspot for gecko diversity, and the latest to appear on the tree of life is Uroplatus garamaso.
- U. garamaso, with a length of 8.3-13.9 cm (3.3-5.5 in), is one of the larger leaf-tailed lizards inhabiting the island, but is still a master at hiding in plain sight.
- The gecko’s known range is restricted to the forests in the north of the island: Montagne des Français, Montagne d’Ambre, and Ankarana in the Diana region.
Can land titles save Madagascar’s embattled biodiversity and people? (August 14, 2023)
- Through its Titre Vert or Green Title initiative, the Malagasy government is opening up a path to land ownership for its most vulnerable citizens in the hopes it will help tackle hunger, internal migration, and forest loss.
- The state is using the initiative to lean on potential migrants to remain in the country’s deep south, where five years of failed rains have left 2 million people hungry, instead of migrating north, where they are often blamed for social tensions and for destroying forests.
- This March, the Malagasy government started work on a Titre Vert enclave in the Menabe region, a popular destination for migrants from the drought-hit south, to dissuade them from clearing unique dry forests to grow crops.
- Critics say the government is holding people back in a rain-starved region without providing enough support; in Menabe, backers of the project hope to provide ample assistance to get migrants out of the forests and onto their feet.
Madagascar signs new ‘sustainable’ tuna deal with the EU (August 7, 2023)
- In late June, Madagascar and the European Union struck a new four-year deal allowing fishing vessels flagged to EU countries to resume harvesting tuna in Madagascar’s waters after an unusual four-and-a-half-year gap.
- The EU says the deal benefits Madagascar by providing key funding to support fisheries governance, and civil society groups praised the Madagascar government for creating a more inclusive and transparent negotiating process than in the past.
- However, critics contend that the deal offers little benefit to the citizens of Madagascar, one of the poorest countries in the world, and enables European vessels to exacerbate the overfishing of Indian Ocean tuna stocks.
Villagers turn to charcoal made from bamboo to save a protected forest in Madagascar (July 7, 2023)
- Rice paddies have become silted up around Ankarafantsika National Park in northwestern Madagascar. To survive, local residents are forced to illegally exploit the forest’s natural resources.
- To reduce their dependency on the forest, local communities are planting the versatile bamboo species from Asia to make charcoal and restore watersheds.
- Although the exotic bamboo species can be used to protect the forest and watersheds, scientists raise concerns about the ecological impacts of its use.
Fire imperils Madagascar’s baobabs: Q&A with park director Diamondra Andriambololona (July 3, 2023)
- Kirindy Mite forest is a unique ecosystem that is home to three of Madagascar’s six endemic species of baobab trees.
- The forest is facing increasing anthropogenic pressure, especially from bushfires.
- Mongabay spoke with Diamondra Andriambololona, the director of Kirindy Mite National Park in southwestern Madagascar and the nearby Andranomena Special Reserve, about how the increase in fires is affecting the region’s unique forest and what is being done to reduce them.
- “The pressures on the forest will continue to increase as long as the people remain poor,” says Andriambololona.
Extreme reforestation: Baobab planters confront fires, loggers, cattle and more (June 6, 2023)
- In Madagascar, the August-to-December bushfire season wreaks havoc on the southwest and west of the island.
- Dry Forest, a young Malagasy NGO, is attempting an extreme form of reforestation to save the forest in Kirindy Mite National Park.
- In addition to the bushfires, the NGO faces many other challenges linked to local poverty.
Fish deaths near Rio Tinto mine in Madagascar dredge up community grievances (May 16, 2023)
- In March 2022, following the release of wastewater from the Rio-Tinto-owned QMM mine in southeastern Madagascar, thousands of fish turned up dead in neighboring lakes, sparking protests and a government investigation.
- Civil society groups say the mine’s effluent enters neighboring water bodies with alarming regularity, endangering people’s health and robbing them of their livelihoods, and that the mining company is doing little to better the lives of Malagasy people most impacted by its activities.
- The company says it is not responsible for the fish deaths and is providing water and aid to improve relations with local people.
- “If they want to maintain good relations, the first thing to do is not release untreated wastewater into the potable water of villagers,” Tahiry Ratsiambahotra, a Malagasy activist, told Mongabay.
Madagascar bush fires prompt exasperated NGO to curtail tree planting (May 1, 2023)
- Graine de Vie, a Belgian NGO present in Madagascar since 2009, claims to be the leading reforestation organization in the country.
- Weary of repeated bush fires and an alleged lack of government action, the NGO announced in January that it would reduce its activities by a third.
- The announcement followed the catastrophic loss of thousands of freshly planted saplings to a bush fire.
Rio Tinto must repair the damage caused by their Madagascar mine (commentary) (April 28, 2023)
- The giant mining conglomerate Rio Tinto has a large ilmenite mine which abuts wetlands and lies in the vicinity of a river and two lakes in one of the poorest regions of the fifth poorest country in the world, Madagascar.
- Though it’s a large employer in the region, activists say that the company’s Qit Minerals Madagascar mine contaminates water supplies and reduces food security for the vulnerable local population.
- “We [are] calling for the creation of a grievance mechanism which will truly respond to people’s concerns, and that complies with international standards – not only by giving them financial compensation, but by affording them their dignity,” a new op-ed says.
- This post is a commentary. The views expressed are those of the author, not necessarily of Mongabay.
Madagascar: What happens to villagers when a graphite mine comes knocking? (April 27, 2023)
- When representatives of an Australian mining firm arrived in Ambohitsy Haut village in southern Madagascar, they told residents they wanted to drill holes looking for graphite in their village. The villagers agreed, but they were clear; you can dig, but away from our ancestral tombs.
- In November, the company, BlackEarth Minerals (BEM), told investors it was ready to move to the next stage, exploitation, and planned to start construction of a mine this year, which could mean resettling the villagers and moving their tombs. But villagers said they haven’t given the company permission to do so.
- BEM, now known as Evion Group, is touting Madagascar as an alternative to China , currently the world’s leading graphite supplier, but experts and activists say the graphite mining rush is coming to a country and communities ill-prepared for it: obsolete mining laws, a brittle land rights regime, and limp environmental and social protections.
- A top Evion executive told Mongabay that the villagers had no private claims to the land, but the company would respect their traditional rights.
10 nature attractions in Madagascar:
- Masoala National Park: Masoala National Park is a large national park located on the Masoala Peninsula in northeastern Madagascar. It is home to a variety of ecosystems, including rainforests, mangroves, and coral reefs. It is also home to a variety of wildlife, including lemurs, chameleons, and birds.
- Isalo National Park: Isalo National Park is a protected area in southwestern Madagascar. It is home to a variety of landscapes, including sandstone formations, gorges, and waterfalls. It is also home to a variety of wildlife, including lemurs and chameleons.
- Berenty Private Reserve: The Berenty Private Reserve is a protected area in southern Madagascar. It is home to a variety of wildlife, including lemurs and birds.
- Andasibe-Mantadia National Park: Andasibe-Mantadia National Park is a protected area in eastern Madagascar. It is home to a variety of ecosystems, including rainforests, grasslands, and wetlands. It is also home to a variety of wildlife, including lemurs and birds.
- Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park: Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park is a protected area in western Madagascar. It is known for its unique karst formations, called tsingy, which are formed from ancient coral reefs. It is also home to a variety of wildlife, including lemurs and chameleons.
- Ankarana National Park: Ankarana National Park is a protected area in northern Madagascar. It is home to a variety of ecosystems, including rainforests, caves, and savannas. It is also home to a variety of wildlife, including lemurs and chameleons.
- Analamazaotra Special Reserve: The Analamazaotra Special Reserve is a protected area in eastern Madagascar. It is home to a variety of wildlife, including lemurs and chameleons.
- Zombitse-Vohibasia National Park: Zombitse-Vohibasia National Park is a protected area in western Madagascar. It is home to a variety of ecosystems, including rainforests, grasslands, and wetlands. It is also home to a variety of wildlife, including lemurs and chameleons.
- Marojejy National Park: Marojejy National Park is a protected area in northeastern Madagascar. It is home to a variety of ecosystems, including rainforests, wetlands, and grasslands. It is also home to a variety of wildlife, including lemurs and chameleons.
- Montagne d'Ambre National Park: Montagne d'Ambre National Park is a protected area in northern Madagascar. It is home to a variety of ecosystems, including rainforests, wetlands, and grasslands. It is also home to a variety of wildlife, including lemurs and chameleons.
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