Ivoloina Conservation and Training Centre
To support a conservation and training centre in Madagascar
Madagascar is one of the World's Biodiversity Hotspots. It is legendary for its high level of biodiversity and endemism, and many of its species are so bizarrely beautiful that the whole island seems improbable, a mythical biological wonderland. The landscapes and species are unique, but Madagascar’s problems are not. A rapid rate of human population growth, unsustainable use of natural resources, imported agricultural methods, like rice cultivation, slash-and-burn agriculture, and cattle grazing, which are inappropriate for infertile, lateritic soils, and resulting habitat destruction, are dooming many species and making life harder for Malagasy people as well. It is estimated that only about 17 % of the original vegetation of Madagascar remains, with most remaining forests found along the eastern, western, and southern coasts.
To address Madagascar's conservation problems, holistic concepts are required which include not only in situ conservation but focus also on poverty relief. Sustainable agricultural and forestry practices must be introduced, education improved and training provided.
A unique facility to achieve these goals is Parc Ivoloina near Tamatave (Toamasina) because it comprises:
a zoo that exhibits endemic fauna including species managed in global ex situ breeding programmes,
an Environmental Education Center that includes a library and classroom facilities which serve as a training site for teachers and primary to high-school-age students,
a model agroforestry station that serves as a demonstration area for sustainable land use practices such as high-yield rice paddies, cultivation of alternative fruits, spices, vegetables for personal and commercial use, and a large native and exotic tree nursery that illustrates best care practices and supplies trees for community reforestation programs, and
a recently built Training Center that addresses Madagascar’s National Environmental Action Plan goal to increase local capacity by serving as a training site for students and practitioners in biodiversity monitoring, research methods, park management, agroforestry practices, veterinary science, flora and fauna endangered species propagation techniques, and development of eco-friendly small businesses.
After a 1986 cyclone destroyed the small zoo located within the 400-hectare Forestry Station, the Madagascar Fauna Group (MFG) became involved. The MFG is an international consortium of zoos formed in 1988 after a meeting attended by representatives of the Malagasy government, zoos, CBSG, the IUCN Primate Specialist Group and field biologists. The MFG’s conservation objectives and its authorization to work in Madagascar are established through a Protocol of Collaboration between the Malagasy Government and the MFG in which Malagasy authorities requested assistance in:
Conservation of threatened/endangered Malagasy wildlife
The MFG was structured as a membership organization with annual dues which, along with other contributions and grants, is used to accomplish the goals of the Collaboration. The MFG has proven effective, in large part, due to maintaining an in-country staff and office in Tamatave. Today, the MFG in-country staff totals 31 (29/31 Malagasy). The MFG has developed and expanded its programs based on the needs and requests from community members and governing officials and is now recognized as a respected in-country NGO.
A greatly improved facility, the Parc Zoologique d’Ivoloina, reopened in 1990 and, as the centerpiece of the former forestry station, inspired expansion of the entire facility into a center for conservation in the Tamatave Region.
WAZA Conservation Project 05016 is operated by the Madagascar Fauna Group and the Madagascar National Park Service (ANGAP), and is supported by the Brookfield Zoo, Carribean Gardens, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, Duke University Primate Center, FOTA Wildlife Park, Houston Zoo, London Zoological Society,Marwell Zoo, Philadelphia Zoo, Saint Louis Zoo, San Antonio Zoo, Zoological Society of San Diego, Wildlife Conservation Society (Bronx Zoo), Zurich Zoo (managing members), Indianapolis Zoo, Oklahoma City Zoo, Quebec Zoo, (sponsoring members); Allwetterzoo Münster, Dickerson Park Zoo, Disney's Animal Kingdom, Dudley Zoo, Living Rainforest, Los Angeles Zoo, Minnesota Zoo as well as by other sponsors.
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