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Conservation and Society
An interdisciplinary journal exploring linkages between society, environment and development
Conservation and Society
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Year : 2006  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 262-286

Mixed Results: Conservation of the Marine Turtle and the Red-Tailed Tropicbird by Vezo Semi-Nomadic Fishers

Universite de La Reunion, Laboratoire du C.I.R.C.I., Departement des Lettres et Sciences Humaines, 15 Avenue Rene Cassin, BP 7151, 97715 Saint-Denis Messag Cedex 9.

Correspondence Address:
Valerie Lilette
13 rue Curton, 92110 Clichy, France.

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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The operating factors surrounding the preservation of marine tur­tles (the green turtle, Chelonia mydas) and the red-tailed tropicbird (Phaethon rubricauda) at the same location in southwestern Madagascar re­veal the process of nature heritage preservation as it is organised by political lineages, arranged by the Malagasy concept of tompontany (masters or guardians of the land), and managed by the descendants of the Sara clan among the Vezo ethnic group. Official attempts to protect marine turtles date back to 1923 when six small islands distributed all around the coast of Mada­gascar were designated as reserves. These attempts have included the ratifi­cation of international conventions in 1975 and 1988. Yet the preservation of the turtle remains uncertain. The red-tailed tropicbird, on the other hand, first observed only twenty-five years ago in the Toliara region, has garnered enor­mous attention and support from the villagers and members of a local grass­roots conservation association. Whether local populations support and adhere to environmental policies or have consideration for growth in tourism and scientific knowledge depends on economic, social, and religious factors. It also depends on the power structure built around the exploitation of certain species.

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