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Old 06-04-2010, 08:11 AM
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Default Keeping Madagascar Afloat

Madagascar has got one of the most interesting amphibian faunas in the world. It is mercifully free from chytrid at present. Like many sub-Saharan African countries, it is also desperately poor. Apart from human misery, poverty also leads to deforestation, habitat destruction and many other factors which threaten amphibians and other rare species, such as collection for the pet trade.

One way out of poverty for poor countries is ecotourism, which seeks to make the natural environment pay for itself, and hence derive protection. But what risks does ecotourism pose to Madagascar's amphibians? The introduction of chytrid would be a disaster for many species. A new paper looks at balancing the risk and rewards of ecotourism to Madagascar's amphibians.

Raising Awareness of Amphibian Chytridiomycosis will not Alienate Ecotourists Visiting Madagascar. Ecohealth. Jun 2 2010
Chytridiomycosis (Bd) is contributing to amphibian extinctions worldwide but has so far not been detected in Madagascar. The high likelihood for Bd to spread to the island and efface this amphibian diversity and endemism hotspot requires respective conservation policies to be developed. Bd could be introduced by the large number of tourists that visit protected areas; therefore, increasing awareness among tourists and encouraging them to participate in safety measures should be a priority conservation action. However, concerns have been raised that tourists would not be able to distinguish between an amphibian disease harmless to humans and emerging diseases that would imply a danger for human health, invoking a negative image of Madagascar as an ecotourism destination. We evaluated whether informing tourists about this infectious animal disease would cause health scare and diminish trip satisfaction. Based on 659 respondents we found that most ecotourists favored to be informed about Bd and were proactive about participating in prevention measures, refuting previous concerns.

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