Conservation of the biodiversity of Bombetoka Bay, Madagascar
The Blue-eyed ibis (Threskionis bernieri) lives only in Madagascar. Its situation must be rated as increasingly critical. The distribution is restricted to a few yet intact mangrove areas along the Madagascan western coast. A continuously decreasing population of only approximately 1000 pairs may be left.
Bombetoka Bay is one of Madagascar's most important and species-rich waterbird sites. It is situated in NW-Madagascar. About twenty islands plus a number of currently emerging islands are located in the bay, mostly covered with mangroves. The total area of the bay comprises about 150.000 ha.
The remarkable and well-known Blue-eyed ibis is an important "flagship-species" because its popularity and the efforts to protect it from extinction will offer the chance to protect the mangrove habitat and its great variety of inhabitants simultaneously.
The most important waterbird populations under potential conservation status are directly within reach of villages within Bombetoka Bay. Their inhabitants pose a considerable threat to the water bird sites through collection and consumption of chicks.
The programme combines nature conservation measures and development assistance. The islands in Bombetoka Bay seem to be very suitable for this programme and first interviews with locals about species conservation and the resulting benefits and disadvantages were promising. In March 2005, an association for the protection of waterbirds in Bombetoka Bay was founded by the animal keeper and conservationist Mario Perschke and called "Voronosy", i.e. blue-eyed ibis.
Following measures will be implemented:
- Process to designate a conservation area in Bombetoka Bay;
- Building awareness in the local communities;
- Development assistance, e.g. in sustainable fisheries and sewing;
- Establishing eco-tourism within Bombetoka Bay;
- Monitoring the conservation area.
After the sudden death of Mario Perschke in 2007, the implementation of the project is resumed by the Madagascan organisation Fanamby.
Stiftung Artenschutz co-ordinates the project and the co-operation between the many partners. The project was renamed "Perschke-Voronosy" in remembrance of its founder.
The project is kindly funded by the EAZA Madagascar Campaign 2006/07.
It received the "WAZA-Branding" by the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA-Project 06022).
This project is supported by several German zoological gardens and associations: Vogelpark Walsrode and Vogelpark Walsrode Fonds e.V., Zoo Landau in der Pfalz and Freundeskreis des Landauer Tiergartens e.V., Zoo Duisburg, Zoo Berlin und Muenster Zoo.