Newly created community-based organizations were rewarded for their efforts to protect the Critically Endangered Golden Mantella (Mantella aurantiaca) during a festival attended by government representatives and members of the local population. The event was held in the town of Moramanga in the Moramanga District in Madagascar.
Each of Madagascar’s 97 districts has its own emblematic species. The Golden Mantella frog is endemic to the Moramanga district and, not surprisingly, is also its emblematic species. These frogs need both healthy rainforests and clean freshwater ponds to thrive. These habitats are currently threatened by logging, mining and slash and burn agriculture. One such habitat in the district is the Mangabe forest.
With the support of SOS-Save Our Species, Madagasikara Voakajy, a national conservation organization, supports both the community organizations that manage the Mangabe forest and the Malagasy authorities in their efforts to monitor, and conserve, the key breeding ponds of the Golden Mantella.
A total of ten community-based organizations are currently mobilized to act as conservation ambassadors of the species and its habitat, while at the same time improving local livelihoods in the process. Three organizations named a total of twenty monitors who regularly visited twelve Golden Mantella breeding ponds and reported on their state and on any illegal activities witnessed.
“Faniry” and “Hafasahona” were commended for being the best performing community-based organizations with the highest proportion of their village populations taking part in the initiative and the highest number of monitoring visits to the forest ponds. As a reward for their commitment, the communities received a monetary prize that will be used to support the rehabilitation of their village schools following a cyclone in February 2012.
“A Malagasy proverb says ‘If you do things right, even frogs can bring water to your rice field’. This is becoming a reality for the communities living in Mangabe”, explains Roma Randrianavelona, leader of the Mantella conservation project at Madagasikara Voakajy since 2008. “They never expected to be rewarded for the conservation of this tiny frog”, he concludes.