Celebration of the 30th Anniversary of the Bezà Mahafaly Special Reserve

On the 12th of August 2016, the celebration of the 30th Anniversary of Bezà Mahafaly has been completed successfully and reinforced awareness of conservation efforts of the Reserve at local, national and international levels, with the support of LCAOF. More than 700 people attended the celebration on 12 August 2016, mostly villagers from the surrounding areas. Several partners of Bezà Mahafaly also attended the celebration including colleagues from WWF, Conservation International, the environment fund Tany Meva Foundation, NGO Smile4 Madagaskar, University of Innsbruck (Austria), Yale University (USA), James Madison University (USA), George Washington University (USA).

At the Camp, national and regional authorities formally unveiled the commemorative plaque for the 30th Anniversary of Bezà Mahafaly at the beginning of the ceremony, followed by ritual sacrifice of a zebu. The new Research Center (funded by German bank KfW) was officially opened with an exhibition of activities at Bezà Mahafaly over the last thirty years. Then, guests moved to the ceremonial ground on the bank of the Sakamena River for official speeches. Official speeches were given by the Mayor of Beavoha, Prof. Alison Richard (founder of Bezà Mahafaly Reserve), the President of the University of Antananarivo, the Director General of Madagascar National Parks and the representative of the Minister in charge of Forest and Ecology. Speakers expressed the importance of partnership between the local community, ESSA (University of Antananarivo) and MNP for the last 30 years and encouraged moving forward hand in hand. The formal decree of the extension of the Reserve to 4,200 ha was handed to the Mayor during the ceremony. Villagers (women associations, school children and other associations) performed traditional dances, songs and shows between speeches. After that, community and invitees enjoyed festivities, with local music concert, dances and a ball at the Camp.  There were also guided tours for guests in the afternoon, including the Reserve, botanical garden, Aloe Park, and Robert Dewar Museum. The celebration has had very positive appreciation from the guests, including local communities, national and international participants.

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