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Madagascar

Ampondrahazo and Ambolobozokely Villages

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Conservation benefit: Increased protection of two marine and mangrove areas totaling 7,155 acres, including mangrove restoration and sea turtle protection, for 20 years

Community benefit: Repairs and toilets for schools in each village; a well; signs; community training; new ranger station

Date Approved: 06.2022

Mangroves

This project protects mangroves, which trap more CO2 than any other kind of forest and as a result, slow global warming.

Ocean

This project protects ocean ecosystems, making coastal communities more economically and physically secure in the face of climate change.

Many plants and animals native to the Bay of Rigny, on the northern coast of Madagascar, share an unfortunate distinction: They are in danger of extinction. Hawksbill turtles, Madagascar jacanas, and northern sportive lemurs (one of the rarest lemurs in the world) are just a few. Exploitation of mangrove forests, destructive fishing practices by migrant fishers, and poaching of sea turtle and bird eggs pose enormous threats to the region’s coral reef, seagrass, and mangrove ecosystems. The pandemic made things worse, because city dwellers who lost their jobs went back to their home villages to live off the land (and sea). Poachers took advantage of the lack of enforcement.

In nearby communities, close to 90% of the people catch fish, crab, and lobsters for subsistence and livelihood. They are strongly motivated to protect their resources, but lack the funds and capacity to do so. Our women-led project partner, Conservation Centered Community (C3) Madagascar, will support two locally managed marine areas, both of which contain large areas of mangroves. Activities will include:

  • mangrove restoration of 7.5 acres or more in each village, from nurseries set up with women’s associations
  • patrolling (on foot or in nonmotorized boats) by community rangers 10 days each month
  • annual habitat (coral, seagrass, mangrove) monitoring by trained community members
  • monitoring sea turtle nests and hunting in Ambolobozokely during community patrols
  • community outreach about the importance of marine turtles
  • conservation presentations to students, incorporating music and theatre, plus creation of junior “Ecoguards” groups of 25 students

The village primary schools are in such bad condition that classes must often be cancelled when it rains. The schools lack toilets; bat feces stain the walls. The communities will use a Seacology grant, and volunteer labor, to repair them. They will also put up signs to mark the protected area and build a small ranger station at Ambolobozokely. It will serve as a base for management and patrols.

Project Updates

July 2023

In April, Ampondrahazo community members planted 1,400 saplings in a deforested area. Parents worked together to build a new school with materials supplied by Seacology, and the building is now in use.

Six patrollers from Ambolobozokely have gotten training, led by C3 Madagascar, on patrolling mangroves and monitoring sea turtle nesting sites.  One site is 1.5 hours away by motorboat, so before Seacology’s grant, visiting regularly was too expensive. During peak hawksbill turtle nesting season (February through April), they monitored islands 10 random days each month, and identified 10 green turtle nests and 11 hawksbill nests. They found carcasses of three turtles and are developing a plan, with the fishermen’s association, to protect turtles.

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February 2023

Our project partner, C3 Madagascar, has held multi-day outreach sessions in the villages, teaching students and the larger community about fisheries laws and sea turtle conservation. The village Junior Ecoguards led the sessions, which had a total of 400 attendees. There is an urgent need for this information, because fishermen in these communities have been the main poachers of sea turtles.

Community members have gotten building supplies and are repairing the school roofs and termite-infested beams. A builder is working on the foundation and framing for the new ranger station.

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