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Madagascar: fear and violence making rainforest conservation more challenging than ever

madagascar biodiversity

People are too afraid to return to the village so they are sleeping in the forest or have left altogether. They have lost their stored grain and all their belongings. I don’t know how they will get by.

These are the words of Riana*, a young woman from Bevoahazo, a tiny village in the eastern rainforests of Madagascar. Bevoahazo sits on the edge of Ranomafana National Park in a UNESCO world heritage site teeming with endangered and endemic species. Security in the area has been deteriorating over the last few years but things have escalated recently.

On November 24, 50 men raided the village stealing stores of rice – vital food reserves for local people who are mostly subsistence farmers – and injuring anyone who tried to defend their property. A few days later the local police chief, Heritiana Emilson Rambeloson, who had come to the area with a small team to investigate, was shot dead. MORE

*Names changed to protect identities.

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