Coup In Madagascar Creates Danger for Lemurs

National Geographic has the story:

With Madagascar’s government paralyzed after a recent coup, looters are invading the African island country’s protected wildlife sanctuaries, harvesting trees and threatening critically endangered lemurs and other species, conservationists said this week.
Marojejy National Park in northern Madagascar has been closed to tourism. In other parks, rangers are abandoning their posts, according to reports.

Patricia Wright, a conservationist and lemur expert, said she had received reports that rangers were abandoning their posts in other parks because of fears for their safety.
“What’s happening in the north is very worrying, because that is the home of two of the most endangered primates in the world, the silky sifaka and the Perrier’s sifaka,” she said.
The trouble appeared to be confined for the moment to parks in Madagascar’s northern areas, said Wright, a professor in the Department of Anthropology at New York State’s Stony Brook University and former member of National Geographic’s Committee for Research and Exploration.

Sadly, there doesn’t seem to be much that can be done:

Both Wright and Mayor were at a loss as to what could be done in the short term.
“One thing we can do is create awareness about this,” Mayor said.
Wright said she was trying to contact foundations and agencies that sponsor conservation in Madagascar.
“A big worry is that funding dries up for conservation because of the coup. That will leave the national parks without resources and completely exposed to exploitation,” Wright said.

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2 Responses

  1. Some readers might be interested in the only actual publication written about precious wood logging in Madagascar:
    http://www.erikpatel.com/Logging_of_Rosewood_Patel_2007.pdf
    All the best,
    Erik R. Patel
    PhD Candidate
    Cornell University
    erp8@cornell.edu
    http://www.erikpatel.com/index.html

  2. Illegal logging of precious wood has emerged as one
    of the most severe threats to Madagascar’s dwindling northeastern rainforests. Over the past few years, thousands of logs, worth millions of dollars, have been confiscated at ports of Vohémar, Antalaha, and Toamasina. Most of this critically endangered rosewood and ebony is known to have come from Marojejy National Park and Masoala National Park. In the face of rich, armed, and politically connected criminals (with ties to China), the parks simply lack the resources to stop this. The impacts of such selective logging include violating local taboos as well as ecological consequences such as increased likehood of fire, invasive species, impaired habitat, and loss in genetic diversity. A key cause of the logging we’re seeing now is the recent (January, 2009) termination of the law prohibiting export of rosewood and ebony from Madagascar. The laws prohibiting such exportation must be reinstated as soon as possible. It is unprecedented for a national park in Madagacar to be closed to tourism because of illegal logging!
    Stay tuned for a Dan Rather Cable Television Special featuring this issue airing on Channel HDnet in June (I’m going back to Marojejy now to assist with that).
    All the best,
    Erik R. Patel
    PhD Candidate
    Cornell University
    erp8@cornell.edu
    http://www.erikpatel.com/index.html

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