Quest to Save the Golden Mandella
Sometimes, a true conservation leader emerges where they are needed most. Julie Hanta Razafimanahaka has recently emerged as a truly inspirational figure leading the charge to protect some of Madagascar’s richest forests and the species that call them home, with boundless energy and enthusiasm for her mission.
Julie Hanta Razafimanahaka, in white, meets with local community members to discuss a project. Photo © Robin Moore
Julie didn’t always aspire to work in conservation. As a child, she wanted to be a farmer, but when she was given the opportunity to study at University she elected ecological studies to allow her time in the field: “I love travelling, and being surrounded by nature inspires me. I always feel happier and healthier when I’m in the field”, she says.
A Golden Mantella hops across the forest floor in Mangabe. Photo © Robin Moore
Julie advanced quickly in her career, becoming a young Director of Madagasikara Voakajy, a Malagasy group, and ASA partner, working at the intersection of people and their natural environment, protecting forests whilst improving the quality of life for local communities. “I really love it when our research findings lead directly into conservation actions that improve the standard of life in the villages where we work” she says.
In June 2014 Julie was awarded the prestigious Marsh Award by Fauna and Flora International (FFI). FFI Deputy Chief Executive Ros Aveling said: “The mission of the awards is to recognize those special people and organizations who are having a profound impact on conservation activities where they operate.”
The forests of Mangabe, which Julie and her organization are working to protect. Photo © Robin Moore
Julie has chosen to focus her energies on an area of lush forest in Mangabe, in eastern Madagascar, home to one of Madagascar’s most beautiful and threatened frogs: the Golden Mantella. The forests are also home to at least nine lemur species including the country’s largest and most, the Indri, and 21 other amphibian species. By night the forests comes alive with such creatures as aye-aye, sportive lemurs, dwarf lemurs, mouse lemurs and a kaleidoscopic assortment of chameleons.
A dwarf chameleon, Brookesia therezieni, found in the forests of Mangabe. Photo © Robin Moore
Julie and her organization have been working since 2007 to establish 24,000 hectares of forest habitat – containing more than half of all breeding ponds for the Golden Mantella – as a Protected Area. We are raising support to help them achieve their goal by May 2015, before the government opens the area for mining.
By working closely with local communities – and organizing a festival each year in which people don mantella and indri costumes – Julie and team are helping to foster pride in these unique inhabitants of the forest andachieve forest conservation that elevates standards of living among local people.
The Indri lemur, Indri indri, a Critically Endangered species inhabiting the forests of Mangabe. Photo © Robin Moore
Help us in supporting Julie and her team in their quest to save some of Madagascar’s richest forests, home to a rare, beautiful and critically endangered living jewel.
Deforestation and gold mining
Indri lemur, aye-aye, sportive lemurs, dwarf lemurs, mouse lemurs, day gecko, numerous chameleons
Your donation will make an immediate, real, and lasting impact. As a global alliance with partners generous enough to cover our operational costs, we are able to channel 100% of your donations directly to helping save these amphibians.