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.





Study: Climate impacts to disproportionately hurt tropical fishers, farmers (15 Jul 2022 15:43:20 +0000)
- The majority of 72 coastal communities studied in five countries in the Indo-Pacific region may face significant losses of agricultural and fisheries products — two key food sources — simultaneously under the worst-case climate change projections, a new study shows.
- These potential losses may be coupled with other drivers of change, such as overfishing or soil erosion, which have already caused declining productivity, the study adds.
- But if carbon emissions can be effectively managed to a minimum, the study’s authors say, fewer communities would experience losses in both the agriculture and fisheries sectors, indicating the importance of climate mitigation measures.
- The current global average temperature is 1.1°C (2°F) above pre-industrial times, and climate experts have warned that it could climb to about 3°C (5.4°F) higher by the end of this century if nothing changes.

On hazardous mine tailings dams, ‘safety first’ should be the rule (commentary) (06 Jul 2022 21:12:30 +0000)
- A mine tailings dam in Madagascar has failed at least twice this year, sending hazardous wastewater into a lagoon relied on by locals for drinking and subsistence fishing, killing hundreds of fish.
- Rio Tinto refuses to accept responsibility for the fish or water pollution, and this is not an isolated incident: tailings dams are failing with increasing frequency and severity all over the world.
- “Safety First” is a new set of guidelines toward more responsible tailings storage that prioritizes safety over cost, which companies and investors should heed, a new op-ed argues.
- This post is a commentary. The views expressed are those of the author, not necessarily Mongabay.

Murky provenance of a Chinese fleet clouds Madagascar shrimp fishery (11 May 2022 11:05:16 +0000)
- Thirty-nine trawlers are licensed to catch up to 4,170 metric tons of shrimp in Madagascar’s waters during the 2022 campaign, which officially began on March 1.
- Chinese-owned company Mada Fishery, which holds eight exploration rights did not apply to catch shrimp this year, and its eight vessels are now sitting idle.
- Three of the vessels were previously engaged in fishing violations in the Gambia, and under Malagasy law should not be eligible to fish in Madagascar now — unless there’s been a change in their ownership.
- But a murky document trail and general lack of transparency into the vessels’ ownership makes it unclear whether that has happened; transparency advocates say the implementation of simple measures would have made a significant difference in the investigation of Mada Fishery.

Deforestation-neutral mining? Madagascar study shows it can be done, but it’s complicated (11 May 2022 00:10:30 +0000)
- The Ambatovy mine in Madagascar achieved no net forest loss by curbing deforestation in its biodiversity offsets, an analysis in the journal Nature Sustainability concluded.
- Project developers create biodiversity offsets, sites where they undertake conservation work, to make up for environmental destruction caused by their extractive operations.
- Ambatovy, which operates an open-pit nickel mine in Madagascar, carved out four biodiversity offsets to make up for biodiversity loss in its mining site, located in the species-rich eastern rainforest of the island nation.
- By slowing deforestation in these four offsets, the mine made up for forest loss in its mining concession; however, there isn’t enough data to ascertain how the measures impacted biodiversity, and previous research indicates that the mine’s offsets reduced impoverished communities’ access to forest resources.

Madagascar’s insistence on using seized rosewood rattles conservationists (29 Mar 2022 13:52:49 +0000)
- Since CITES banned the global trade of Malagasy rosewood in 2013, the country has faced a dilemma: what to do with the illegally harvested timber in government custody?
- This month Madagascar proposed using seized rosewood, which it claims is secure, domestically, effectively removing it from CITES oversight.
- Though the plan concerns a small fraction of the stockpile, it could set a dangerous precedent, opening the door for the remaining timber to be unlawfully funneled into the global market and drive illegal logging, anti-trafficking campaigners said.
- The proposal came up for discussion at the CITES standing committee meeting this March, but CITES parties are expected to reach a decision at the next summit in November.

‘Small-scale fishers have a Ph.D. in the ocean’: Q&A with Vatosoa Rakotondrazafy (08 Mar 2022 07:00:11 +0000)
- Traditional fishers along Madagascar’s coastline are grappling with falling fish stocks, cyclones, and competition from industrial trawlers, mostly owned by foreigners.
- In an attempt to better manage the country’s marine wealth and secure local fishers’ rights, communities banded together to form Mihari, a network of locally managed marine areas (LMMAs) that leans heavily on traditional ocean knowledge.
- As Mihari’s national coordinator for six years Vatosoa Rakotondrazafy supported a campaign to reserve fishing areas for small scale fishers and helped create a space for women to fully participate in decision-making.
- She spoke with Mongabay recently about the challenges facing fishing communities, their depth of marine knowledge, and the prospects for securing their fishing rights.

Two storms in two weeks carve trail of death and destruction in Madagascar (07 Feb 2022 15:03:08 +0000)
- Batsirai, a category 4 cyclone, struck Madagascar’s eastern coast on Feb. 5, leaving 10 people dead.
- The island nation is still recovering from another tropical storm, Ana, which made landfall on Jan. 22 and left dozens dead and hundreds of thousands homeless.
- Data from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration show that 12 storms of category 4 or 5, the highest level, made landfall on Madagascar between 1911; of these 12, eight occurred since 2000.

In Madagascar, beekeepers persist in the face of fires and forest loss (05 Jan 2022 18:40:54 +0000)
- The Anjozorobe Angavo forest corridor is one of the few remaining primary forests in the Central Highlands of Madagascar.
- Home to a number of rare and endemic species, this primary forest is undergoing a rapid decline, driven primarily by fires.
- In hopes of alleviating the problem, an NGO and a honey company are collaborating to train farmers in apiculture, with the aim of providing them with a stable income and an alternative livelihood that does not involve destroying the forest.
- However, this beekeeping project is threatened by the rapid decline of trees that are vital for the survival of bees.

Changes to Madagascar’s trawling sector raise questions and hopes (29 Dec 2021 18:56:19 +0000)
- Madagascar’s auction for nearshore trawling rights has elicited concern from civil society members, who say it was not conducted transparently and opens the door for environmental mismanagement.
- Two Chinese-backed firms won nearly half of the fishing rights. One of them has brought in vessels that were caught fishing illegally in West Africa last year, and the other, which was already fishing in Madagascar, may have violated a national fishing regulation this year.
- But observers have also welcomed other aspects of Madagascar’s fisheries management overhaul this year.
- These include the creation of the Ministry of Fisheries and the Blue Economy, the appointment of scientist and civil society member as the new minister and the joining of FiTI, a global fisheries transparency initiative.

Madagascar’s small fishers cheer new trawl-free zone, but do trawlers obey it? (28 Dec 2021 19:10:43 +0000)
- Madagascar in July imposed a prohibition on industrial trawlers fishing in waters within 2 nautical miles (3.7 kilometers) of the country’s coast.
- Small-scale fishers, who for years have clashed with the industrial vessels, welcomed the new rule, but say the trawlers are largely ignoring it.
- Vessel-tracking data appear to corroborate their claims, with at least 14 trawlers apparently fishing in the prohibited zone along the west coast in recent months.
- An industry executive said that any incursions by his company were uncommon and accidental. Regulators say penalties will be imposed based on the severity of the violations.

This collection of nature photos from Madagascar is part of Mongabay's library of 150,000-plus images. Other images may be available beyond those displayed on this page.

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