IUCN and its World Commission on Protected Areas note with concern the recent reports alleging illegal logging and poaching in Madagascar’s natural forests, and particularly in its national parks.
IUCN is calling on governmental authorities and all Malagasy citizens to do all they can to stop those illegal and potentially irreversible activities which threaten the future of Madagascar’s heritage.
We are particularly concerned about reports concerning illegal activities in and around the rainforests of the Atsinanana, a series of natural areas that were added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 2007 after a positive recommendation from IUCN. Other rainforests being heavily impacted include the Marojejy and Masoala rainforests.
With its unique fauna and flora, Madagascar shelters a significant portion of the world’s natural heritage. It is the second richest country on Earth for primate diversity and they are 100 percent endemic. In addition, 90 percent of its plants and 80 percent of its amphibians and reptiles are found nowhere else on earth.
The natural riches of Madagascar guarantee the availability of ecological goods and services that are essential to the daily lives of the majority of the population, as well as supporting the economy of the country.
The recent political events on the island may be used by illegal traders to increase their activities while the public’s attention is focused on other issues.
We are urging Madagascar’s government to give this issue the attention it truly deserves. Protecting Madagascar’s natural riches is in everyone’s interests, but first and foremost it is in the interest of the citizens of Madagascar themselves.
Regardless of the political situation, we look forward to conservation being restated as a key priority for the future of the country.