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.