Image © Tim Flach

Combatting the trafficking of wildlife in Madagascar

Madagascar is the oldest island on the planet and one of the few countries designated by the UN as mega-biodiverse. It is also one of the world's most climate vulnerable regions.

Since July 2018 we have been working in partnership with the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust (Durrell) to support the government of Madagascar in developing a national action plan to tackle the trade in illegal wildlife, particularly the ploughshare tortoise, an endemic and critically endangered species targeted by exotic pet dealers.

Within the illegal pet trade, the ploughshare tortoise is one of the most profitable and sought-after species. Durrell conservationists estimate that there are fewer than 50 adults left in the wild. The majority of trafficked tortoises are transported by criminal networks to Asia, where they are valued as emblems of wealth and status and can fetch up to USD50,000.

Our coordinated strategy concentrates on disrupting the illicit financial flows and transport pathways that drive the region's wildlife trafficking networks. Although laws are in place to protect endangered species from commercial poaching and smuggling, the investigation and prosecution of wildlife crime still represents a significant challenge to government and enforcement agencies, especially as smuggling provides a source of income for impoverished communities.

Impact

It is our aim to support the strengthening of rule of law in Madagascar to enable government agencies and local communities to collaborate in the detection and prosecution of wildlife crime.

This project is financially and strategically supported by the British Embassy Antananarivo.