Centre ValBio hosted its second international conference, A Conservation Strategy for the Amphibians of Madagascar (ACSAM2), from 17-22 November (ACSAM1 was held in 2006 in Antananarivo). Seventy-two amphibian biologists and conservationists from ten countries assembled at Centre ValBio to assess the current conservation status of Madagascar’s amphibian fauna.
[vc_row][vc_column width=”2/3″][text_output]Representatives of all major NGOs concerned with amphibian conservation in Madagascar attended, as did the Director General of the Madagascar Ministry of Water and Forests, the Director of Ranomafana National Park, and representatives of the IUCN, AmphibianArk, Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, Madagascar Faunal Group, Vahatra, Mitsinjo, and other conservation organizations. Eileen Larney and John Cadle of CVB served on the local organizing committee. The meeting was timely because in 2014 two discoveries that could have a major impact on amphibian populations in Madagascar were made: the presence of the amphibian pathogen Batrachochytrium (chytrid fungus) was confirmed in Madagascar, and populations of a highly invasive Asian toad (Duttaphryne melanostictus) were discovered near Toamasina on Madagascar’s east coast. These are potentially grave threats to Madagascar’s frog fauna and the toad is a potential threat to many other parts of the native fauna.
Participants at ACSAM2 had lively discussions on topics of direct import to developing a conservation strategy for Madagascar’s frog fauna: species status in the wild, mitigation efforts, disease ecology, captive breeding potential, and the impact of invasive species. By late December 2014 a draft action plan had been circulated for comment and revision. The action plan targeted specific goals and timetables centered on seven major areas relevant to conservation efforts:
- coordination of research and conservation activities;
- development of standardized population monitoring programs across Madagascar;
- basic research on emerging amphibian diseases in Madagascar and mitigation possibilities;
- basic research on climate change effects;
- management of focal amphibian sites for conservation;
- assessment of harvesting and trade of amphibians;
- captive breeding and zoo actions.
Ranomafana National Park, with the highest known species diversity of amphibians in Madagascar (about 129 species), was a focus of much attention as the protected area with greatest species diversity and greatest capacity to quickly implement monitoring and research efforts. Centre ValBio is poised to lead in these efforts for amphibian conservation.
John E. Cadle, Senior Scientific Advisor Centre ValBio
Patricia C. Wright, Founder and Executive Director
Photo: Boophis tasymena © Franco Andreone
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