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Protecting threatened Over-seas biodiversity
45%

Madagascar Pond Heron

47%

Species factsheet

  • LIFE area: Mayotte
  • Scientific name: Ardeola idae
  • Status: Breeds only on Mayotte, Madagascar, Aldabra et Europa
  • Conservation status (IUCN): Endangered (EN)
  • Diet: Fish, insects, reptiles, amphibiens
  • Behaviour: Shy
  • Hábitat: Wetlands
  • State of the population: 182 pairs (2018) (Mayotte)

Our aims

Innovative deratification techniques
48 ha of invasive alien species control
228 ha of management measures
150 additional young
10 consultative working groups

Threats

Habitat distruction:

There are numerous potential conflicts at feeding and breeding sites such as illegal building and crop planting which alter the species’ habitat and contribute to the disturbance of this very shy species.

Poaching:

Eggs and young of the Madagascar Pond-heron are regularly harvested despite their having legislative protection.

Invasive alien species:

Despite the absence of research showing that rats predate either eggs or chicks, it seems highly likely that this happens as rats are known to occur in the mangroves.

Les actions

  • Predator control:

    After measuring the impact of rats on broods, an innovative protocol of rat control in mangroves will be initiated and evaluated each month.
  • Protection measures and legislation:

    Several protection and development measures (both local “APB”, “ENS” and international RAMSAR) will be proposed for the species’ feeding and breeding sites in order that these sites are appreciated and have legal protection. Measures such as Agri-environment-climate Measures (AECM) will be proposed for sites where the Madagascar Pond-heron feeds in order to maintain human use of areas near to these sites whilst incorporating the species’ conservation.
  • Concrete conservation measures:

    Building of a tower hide, erecting fencing and setting up of surveillance patrols to discourage poaching and habitat destruction.
  • Site restoration:

    Restoration of certain wet meadows in order to improve some of the species’ feeding sites

Results

Identifier de nouveaux habitats

Depuis 2019, trois missions ont été organisées afin de capturer et d’équiper 15 Crabiers blancs adultes de balises permettant de suivre les individus : 4 individus adultes équipés de balises GPS/UHF en 2019, 2 adultes de balises Argos en 2020 et 9 en 2021.

Ces données ont permis de découvrir que les individus avaient un rayon de prospection alimentaire maximal de 10km, qu’ils présentaient une certaine fidélité au site d’alimentation et qu’ils fréquentaient également les zones péri-urbaines. Un nouveau site d’alimentation a également été découvert.

Restaurer les sites connus

En 2021, des actions de restauration ont eu lieu sur 2 sites d’alimentation : dans la lagune d’Ambato des songes ont été enlevées sur 0.2 ha et dans la prairie humide de Malamani des EEE telles que Acacia mangium et Senna alata ot été enlevées sur 0,36 ha. Ces actions ont permis de préserver 0.56 ha de zones d’alimentation du au Crabier blanc.


Crabier blanc équipé © Célia Guigliarelli/GEPOMAY

Protéger les sites connus

En 2020, 2 sites ont été classés en Espace Naturel Sensible : la mangrove de Chirongui et la lagune d’Ambato. La lagune d’Ambato a également été classée en APB en 2020 à la suite d’un nouveau décret (Arrêté n°2020/DEAL/SEPR/304).

En 2020, 3 rapports ont été déposés à la DEAL de Mayotte afin de classer 3 sites de reproduction en APB : les mangroves d’Ironi Bé, de Chiconi-Mangajou et de Dzoumogné.

En 2021, des aménagements ont été mis en place sur la lagune d’Ambato afin d’améliorer la circulation sur le site et de le protéger.

Gérer l’impact des prédateurs

En 2019, une phase test a été déployée jusque juillet à l’aide de waxtags et de pièges photos dans les mangroves d’Ironi Bé et de Chiconi Mangajou afin d’en apprendre davantage sur l’impact du rat. Ces études ont montré une forte présence de rats au niveau des colonies et un dérangement certain de l’espèce sur la reproduction du Crabier blanc.

D’octobre 2019 à octobre 2020, 40 pièges mécaniques A24 ont été déployés autour de la colonie au sein de la mangrove de Chiconi Mangajou afin de réduire l’impact du rat.


Panneau de sensibilisation installé sur la prairie de la lagune d'Ambato © GEPOMAY

The expert

Rivo Rabarisoa

Coordinator of the wetlands programme within Asity Madagascar

What do the people of Mayotte think of the Madagascar Pond-heron?

Habitats used by the species are those most prized and exploited by local people, which has made things difficult from the start. However, in the long term, following a programme of information and awareness and putting in place development alternatives; local people have gradually come to understand the value of these birds and the sustainable management of wetlands. Involving local people in our programme has allowed us to know of other breeding sites.

How has the species fared since you’ve been recording it? What figures do you have today?  

A census made by colleagues in Madagascar and neighbouring islands (Seychelles, Mauritius …) has shown that there is an overall tendency of decline. Today the total population is thought to be 800 pairs.

What are the main threats and the reason for its decline?

The main threat is habitat destruction at breeding sites, the destruction and even the total disappearance of feeding sites, the collecting of eggs and young at certain breeding sites, disturbance at nesting sites which may cause the site to be abandoned, or even threats from natural causes and probably also climate change.

What do you want from the LIFE BIODIV’OM program concerning the conservation of this species?

I hope that deciders and local people become totally aware of the importance of this species, that breeding sites are identified and located and protected as a result. I also hope that wetlands will be protected from further development.