Five new Ramsar sites for Madagascar
The five newly designated sites are important because they contain different types of ecosystems which are poorly represented in the Ramsar List, list of wetlands of international importance. Thus the Ankarafantsika, Nosy Ve Androka, Bemanevika, Sahamalaza and the biocultural Site of Antrema wetlands were recognized as sites of high international importance thanks to their great wealth in biodiversity.
In collaboration with the Ministry of Environment, Ecology and Forestry and site managers (the National Museum of Natural History, The Peregrine Fund and Madagascar National Parks), WWF strongly supported the nomination process of these new Ramsar sites.
Moreover, these sites contain a remarkable but very threatened biodiversity. For example, the Bemanevika wetland in the Northern Highlands landscape in the Sofia region is the only place known currently to shelter the wild ducks - Madagascan Pochard (Aythya innotata), a species considered extinct but rediscovered in this site. The Reef Barrier of Nosy Ve Androka in the seascape of Mahafaly in the southwestern region contains more than 140 species of corals and over 240 fish species of fish, shellfish and other marine species. This site is also home to the coelacanth latimeria chalumae, considered as a fossil fish as well as five species of sea turtles.
"These new sites will greatly improve the international recognition of the value of Madagascar’s biodiversity and contribute to its long-term conservation," says Simon Rafanomezantsoa, Terrestrial Biodiversity Coordinator of WWF Madagascar.
Furthermore the files of five other sites in Madagascar are ready to be submitted to extend the Ramsar list.