Madagascar herons. © Tony King, The Aspinall Foundation
The Madagascar Heron (Ardea humbloti) is an Endangered species endemic to Madagascar, and the overall population, estimated at no more than 1,000 mature individuals, is continuing to decline. In common with other waterbird species, the Madagascar heron faces multiple threats such as egg collection and hunting, the cutting of ‘nesting-trees’, the conversion of remaining wetlands for rice production, the siltation of wetlands due to watershed deforestation, and the depletion of fish stocks by local fisheries.
The presence of the Madagascar heron has been confirmed through Aspinall Madagascar projects at four wetland sites in the Maevatanana/Ambato-Boeny Region but no study has yet been conducted to improve knowledge on the species in these areas.
Marozora Lake © Maholy Ravaloharimanitra, The Aspinall Foundation Madagascar
We are therefore delighted to announce that Maholy Ravaloharimanitra, Country Director of The Aspinall Foundation Madagascar, is a recipient of the Kushlan Research Award, which is administered by The Waterbird Society, an international scientific, not-for-profit organization dedicated to the study and conservation of waterbirds.
This prestigious award, in memory of Dr. James A. Kushlan, a highly respected scientist specialising in wetlands and waterbird biology and conservation, will enable Maholy to conduct the first study to discover the population size and distribution of the Madagascar heron and determine their habitat use at the four wetland sites. This information will be used to inform and influence management and conservation planning decisions for the species, both at a local and national level.
We are extremely grateful to The Waterbird Society for their support, which makes this work possible.
Madagascar heron. © Tony King, The Aspinall Foundation