To promote the survival of waterbirds in Madagascar
On the northwestern coast of Madagascar, the estuary of the Betsiboka
River forms Bombetoka Bay with numerous islands and sand bars built by
the large amount of sediments carried in by the river. Along the coastlines
and on the islands, the vegetation is predominantly mangrove forest. In
fact, Bombetoka Bay is home to some of Madagascar’s largest remaining
mangrove forests, about 46,000 hectares in extent, which provide
shelter for diverse mollusc and crustacean communities, an important
food resource for waterbirds, including the endangered blue-eyed ibis,Threskiornis bernieri.
However, the human impact in the area is increasing. Near water, shrimp and rice farming are common, and downstream is the second largest port of Madagascar, the town of Mahajanga, a road terminus and trade centre that exports sugar, coffee, spices, cassava (manioc), vegetable oils, timber, and vanilla. All large waterbirds appear to be in serious decline in their brackish coastal habitat due to several factors including habitat modification. The blue-eyed ibis is threatened in particular by poaching of eggs at nesting sites, with drastic declines observed over widespread areas. There are now fewer than 2,500 individuals and the population is dwindling further.
"Voronosy" is the malgache name of the blue-eyed ibis, and "Voronosy" has been chosen for denominating a project aiming at conserving the biodiversity of Bombetoka Bay and its mangrove islands with special emphasis on the waterbird fauna and the endangered blue-eyed ibis.
The participating zoos lend their support to the local conservation organisations and their activities. They help establish a curriculum for environmental education for the people of the region, in particular for children, and they assist local communities in finding alternative, long-term sustainable income opportunities, such as the production of handycrafts or ecotourism. With the blue-eyed ibis as the flagship species, the project aims at raising the profile of waterbird communities, which will help conserve the habitat and other sympatric species.
WAZA Conservation Project 06022 is jointly implemented by the Zoo Landau and Vogelpark Walsrode, in collaboration with Stiftung Artenschutz, Association pour la Conservation des Oiseaux d'Eau dans la Baie de Bombetoka (VORONOSY), and Parc Botanique et Zoologique de Tsimbazaza, and financial supported by the Allwetterzoo Münster and Zoo Duisburg.
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