Government of Madagascar Inaugurates Makira Natural Park

Malagasy government, WCS, and other partners hold ceremony for official inauguration of Makira Natural Park, the first of 95 new protected areas in Madagascar

Makira Natural Park becomes key for regional wildlife conservation, sustainable development, and carbon sequestration

NEW YORK (May 29, 2015)—The Government of Madagascar has officially inaugurated Makira Natural Park, home to 20 species of lemur and over 50 percent of Madagascar’s plant biodiversity, and the first protected area to be created in a national network of 95 new marine and terrestrial protected areas established by the Government of Madagascar.

The official inauguration of the park took place on 23rd May 2015 in Maroantsetra in northeast Madagascar in the presence of His Excellence Ralava BEBOARIMISA, the Minister for Environment, Ecology, Oceans and Forests and other dignitaries from the Malagasy Government and international and national partners.

“Makira Natural Park, that we are inaugurating today was the first of a network of new protected areas created as part of the vision of the Government of Madagascar to expand the system of protected areas in Madagascar to cover more than 6 million hectares” said the Minister during his speech to the more than one hundred guests at the inauguration ceremony.  “With its vast size and exceptional biodiversity, Makira Park makes a major contribution not only to the conservation of the unique biodiversity of Madagascar, but also to the improvement of the socio-economic environment of surrounding communities.”

Makira Natural Park covers a total of 372,470 hectares (approximately 1,438 square miles), representing the largest swath of low and medium altitude rainforest on the island. Home to 20 lemur species, Makira also protects four critically endangered lemur species: the indri; the silky sifaka, the red-ruffed lemur; and the black-and-white ruffed lemur.

Makira is managed in collaboration with local communities and in addition to conservation activities, WCS works closely with 67 community associations around the Park representing a population of around 48,000 people. An additional 335,173 hectares surrounding the park are under the direct management of these local communities through contracts for natural resource management that they have signed with the Government of Madagascar. These communities are the entry points for a range of development support activities led by WCS including education and health activities, support to enhanced agricultural production, development of community based ecotourism, and increased access to international markets for vanilla, cocoa, raphia, and cloves that are produced around the Park. 

Makira is also a groundbreaking REDD+ project for generating sustainable funding sources through the sale of carbon credits. Between 2005 and 2013 around 1.8 million carbon credits were generated. Six carbon sales have been concluded by the Malagasy Government on the voluntary market between December 2013 and April 2015, and 50 percent of net income from carbon credit sales are for earmarked for the implementation of development activities by local communities.

Said Joe Walston, WCS Vice President for Field Conservation: “This is a major step forward for conservation in Madagascar. After years of effort, this remarkable landscape has emerged as a model for balancing sustainable livelihoods and wildlife conservation, one that we hope other countries will emulate.”

WCS’s work in Makira Natural Park is supported by numerous international and national partners including the Ministry of Environment, Ecology, Oceans and Forests; The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust; The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; the Madagascar Biodiversity Fund; the Margot Marsh Biodiversity Foundation; The Peter and Kristan Norvig Family Fund; the Wallace Research Foundation; and Zoo Zürich.


About the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS)

MISSION: WCS saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature. VISION: WCS envisions a world where wildlife thrives in healthy lands and seas, valued by societies that embrace and benefit from the diversity and integrity of life on earth. To achieve our mission, WCS, based at the Bronx Zoo, harnesses the power of its Global Conservation Program in more than 60 nations and in all the world’s oceans and its five wildlife parks in New York City, visited by 4 million people annually. WCS combines its expertise in the field, zoos, and aquarium to achieve its conservation mission. Visit:;  Follow: @thewcs.

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