Threatened, the Malagasy authorities fly to the aid of the Tsimanampetsosta National Park – VivAfrik – News

It is a haven of biodiversity. The dry forests, huge salt lake and limestone caves that make up the 200,000 hectares of Tsimanampetsosta National Park are home to 90% endemic flora and fauna. But this ecosystem is under continuous pressure, worsening the situation of species already in danger of extinction every day. The regional directorate of the Ministry of the Environment has just brought together all the players in the area to jointly develop a more effective strategy, this is what RFI correspondent in Antananarivo, Sarah Tétaud, relayed.

With its colonies of pink flamingos (mainly present between April and December), its salt lake as far as the eye can see and its forest of baobabs, Tsimanampetsosta has everything from a postcard setting. But the treasures of this protected area, starting with the critically endangered radiata tortoises, are struggling to be saved.

“In the space of 10 years, their density has decreased. It went – ​​in some areas – from six individuals per hectare to less than one individual per hectare. Adult females are eaten. It is a feast meat highly appreciated by certain tribes; it’s part of their culture. Juveniles are exported, mainly to Asian countries. We are told that it would be for their medicinal properties, but we cannot confirm this. Finally, the domestication of this animal is a significant scourge. Due to ancestral beliefs, every Malagasy wants to have a turtle in his house. Supposedly, it would cure asthma, poultry diseases, and it would work against witchcraft. And it is for these reasons that the whole chain of the turtle is threatened”, deplored, to RFI, Soary Randrianjafizanaka, the regional director of the environment and sustainable development of the Atsimo Andrefana region.

Upsurge in logging

Logging is also on the rise. According to the authorities, the increase in the need for construction wood in the surrounding districts and towns such as Ampanihy and the depletion of the resource in the bordering forests are pushing poachers to get their supplies directly from the park. However, continues the regional director at the initiative of this large gathering, “no one is convinced of his responsibility in this announced disaster”, we read in the columns of RFI.

So note, notes Sarah Tétaud, it was necessary to push the actors to think about new strategies, such as for example “targeting traditional associations to popularize as much as possible with them the legal texts which govern turtles. The authorities – joint design body, local surveillance committees, park rangers) reached an agreement among themselves: they accepted that the law also had to be applied. There is a kind of social convention (and customary, Editor’s note) called the Dina, on turtles, but most of the time, it is only applied to zebu thefts. »

Finally, the judicial authorities have been invited, more than ever, to pronounce the maximum sentences against the perpetrators of this trafficking.

Moctar FICOU / VivAfrik

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Threatened, the Malagasy authorities fly to the aid of the Tsimanampetsosta National Park – VivAfrik – News

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