By Toky Rasolomanana
| March 31, 2015
Northwest Madagascar is an important site for the feeding and breeding of marine turtles, espe-cially green and hawksbill turtles. Hawksbill tur-tles, which rarely nest in this part of the Indian Ocean, do nest in some locations in Nosy Iranja (in Ankivonjy MPA), which is also the most im-portant nesting site for green turtles in Madagas-car. Since 2011, WCS has been partnering with Kélonia to improve conservation status of marine turtles in Ankivonjy and Ankarea MPAs. Kélonia, the Observatory of Marine Turtles, is a marine turtle public aquarium based in Reunion Island, and it also develops research and conservation programs for marine turtles and their habitats in the southwest Indian Ocean. Kélonia and WCS have conducted two scientific expeditions focus-ing on marine turtles in Ankivonjy and Ankarea MPAs already. All five species of sea turtles known to be present in Madagascar have been documented in the waters of the two MPAs but only the green turtle (Chelonia mydas) and hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata) nest there. Thanks to the support of the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, Kélonia and WCS are cur-rently working to develop an education program, with the design of a marine turtle exhibit, and al-so to train local community members from Ankivonjy an Ankarea MPAs to monitor marine turtle nesting activity and to ensure protection of the nests. Turtle monitoring data will be integrat-ed into a regional database, named TORSOOI, developed by Kélonia and IFREMER (the French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea) to promote marine turtle data harmonization and standardization and to facilitate data exchange between countries from the southwest Indian Ocean.