Nosy Iranja is a small island with important turtle nesting beaches that has been developed as a hotel complex. The Radama Islands are inhabited, and used for agriculture. The Nosy Hara archipelago islands are uninhabited, and have both important coral reefs and unique terrestrial biodiversity, as well as being important for turtle nesting.
During the course of the project, we moved from island to island, spending four to ten days on each, camping on the beaches. The team was made up of four students from Oxford University, Great Britain, two students from the University of Antananarivo, Madagascar, and two students from the Marine Institute, Toliara, Madagascar. During the course of the project, we moved from island to island, spending four to ten days on each, camping on the beaches.
The team was made up of four students from Oxford University, Great Britain, two students from the University of Antananarivo, Madagascar, and two students from the Marine Institute, Toliara, Madagascar.
For all sites, we recorded evidence of marine turtle nesting activity, and tagged turtles that came up to nest. In the Nosy Hara region, and on Nosy Iranja, females arrive to nest regularly during this season, and turtle tracks were visible on most beaches. Some islands, like Nosy Vaha in the Nosy Hara archipelago, or Nosy Iranja, are visited mostly by Green turtles. Others, like Nosy Hara, by mostly Hawksbills. Yet other islands showed much less activity. From this work we were able to identify important nesting beaches. By quantifying carcasses found on the beach we were also able to investigate the degree of threat to the turtles in particular areas. This data was made available to WWF-Madagascar to help target the activities of their nascent turtle conservation programme.
On Nosy Iranja, we also trained guides to both tag and collect data, and to allow tourists to see the turtles with minimum disturbance. We also developed an Interpretation Centre. All the above was funded by the Hotel Iranja. The guides are continuing with the work in our absence, and will do for the foreseeable future.
The Nosy Hara archipelago and the Radama Islands are both being considered for development as protected areas. In both, we undertook socio-economic surveys of the inhabitants, geared to understanding needs and requirements that might conflict with conservation initiatives. In both areas, emphasis was put on the exploitation of marine resources, as it is this domain that is particularly being considered for protection. A preliminary report of our findings has already been submitted to the relevant authorities. The full report will follow soon.
Jessica Metcalf Oxford University Leader
Tom Cairnes Oxford University Head of Community Survey
Anna Gray Oxford University Treasurer
Katie Hamspon Oxford University Turtle Research Co-ordinator
Rivo . . . . . University of Antananarivo Community Survey in Radamas Reptile Research in Nosy Hara
Alain . . . . . University of Antananarivo Turtle Researcher
Henriot Sondotra Institut Halieutique et des Sciences Marines Community Survey Turtle Research
Claudine . . . . Institut Halieutique et des Sciences Marines Turtle Research on Nosy Iranja
Lorraine Marshall-Ball University of Aberdeen Set up bird surveys in Nosy Hara
Jina Sagar US Peace Corps Visited Nosy Hara to learn turtle research techniques, which she imitated in the Nosy Be area, North of the Radamas
Joslin Assistant / Boat Driver in both the Radamas and Nosy Hara
Patrice Assistant / Boat Driver in the Radamas
M. Rene Clovis President of Fokotany. Assistant in Community Survey and Turtle surveys in Nosy Hara. Bhola House Guardian and assistant with collection of boat data in Ampasindava
Mme Nora Tutor in Zoology at the University of Antananarivo
Mr Clive Hambler Tutor in Biology at the University of Oxford
Mr Jean-Paul Paddack Head of WWF Madagascar
Mr Remi . . . . . . . . . . Head of the Marine Department of WWF Madagascar
Ms Barbara Martel WWF Turtle Researcher about to start in Mahajanga