Anjanaharibe-Sud Special Reserve
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Narrow and dangerous road that cuts through reserve
Narrow and dangerous road that cuts through reserve

Threats to Anjanaharibe-Sud

News Updates

Other news on our Facebook group

July, 2015: From June to December 2014, Lemur Conservation Foundation has financially supported a new boundary demarcation project... [more]

December, 2014: Lemur Conservation Foundation ( has financed the development... [more]

April, 2007: Two cyclones (hurricanes) slammed into northeastern Madagascar last month... [more]

March, 2006: Death threats force evacuation of volunteer from Marojejy... [more]

December, 2005: Large truck slides off road in reserve, killing five... [more]

October, 2005: Environmentally damaging road "repairs"... [more]

September, 2005: Unauthorized collection of palms and takhtajania from Marojejy and Anjanaharibe-Sud... [more]

Unfortunately, despite its protected status, Anjanaharibe-Sud continues to face multiple serious threats. Some of the most persistent problems in the reserve include the hunting of lemurs (including the rare silky sifaka and black indri), the harvesting of precious hardwoods (mainly palissandre, ebony, and rosewood), and the mining of gemstones (mostly amethyst, but also some beryl). Slash-and-burn agriculture, aggravated by an ever-increasing population, continues to eat away at forests on the periphery of the reserve, and indeed even in places within reserve boundaries.

Slash-and-burn near Anjanaharibe-Sud
Slash-and-burn near Anjanaharibe-Sud


Worst still, the reserve is patrolled by only three conservation agents, and what few patrols there are are largely ineffective. Many areas of this beautiful and important reserve have not been patrolled in years, and it is common knowledge that undetected illegal activity occurs regularly throughout the reserve.

Pressure is also increasingly felt on the narrow dirt road that runs through the heart of Anjanaharibe-Sud. This road, officially classified as a “national highway,” is used primarily by a few large, heavy, six-wheel-drive trucks that transport goods to and from villages on either side of the reserve. The road is maintained solely by the truck drivers and local villagers. The impacts of these heavy trucks on the road are considerable, with severe erosion, gullying and washouts common. Truck drivers and passengers are known to shoot lemurs as they are driving along the road through the reserve. One truck owner, a wealthy Andapa businessman, was caught shooting a babakoto (indri) in March, 2005; he received nothing more than a verbal warning as punishment (he also promised to help construct a campsite in the reserve sometime in the future).

Plans being widely discussed within the government at present call for upgrading and paving this primitive road to create a major east-west transportation link across the country (joining the capital with the SAVA region (Sambava, Antalaha, Vohémar, Andapa). Such a major road corridor through the reserve is extremely ill-advised for a number of reasons:

  • It would split the reserve in half, severely impacting a relatively small reserve like Anjanaharibe-Sud. Of particular concern is the strong likelihood that it would prevent groups of babakoto (indri) on either side from interacting, thus preventing dispersal of individuals and genetic exchange between populations.
  • It would allow much easier access for illegal hunting of lemurs and extraction of resources such as palissandre and amethyst.
  • The traffic and noise of such a road would force birds and animals deeper into the forest, making it much more difficult for tourists to view them, and diminishing its tourism potential.
  • The current road winds through very mountainous, steep terrain and was poorly designed and engineered to begin with (18% grades, poor drainage, etc.). It would be extremely difficult and costly to upgrade and maintain adequately, and washouts and landslides would be a constant, recurring problem.

An alternative to this road has been proposed that would run through less mountainous terrain outside of the reserve (through Amponaomby) to link the east and west coasts. If built, this new road would greatly decrease the pressures on the reserve and allow the current road to be used only for low-impact, park-related travel.

A plan is also in the works calling for the expansion of the reserve to include the western slopes of the Massif as well as the eastern slopes that are currently protected (see map). If this plan is indeed realized, it is possible that more Conservation Agents will be hired, and more patrols will be conducted to help prevent some of the serious problems that continue to plague this beautiful and irreplaceable rainforest.

How You Can Help

Since 2014, Lemur Conservation Organization (, is the primary non-governmental conservation organization supporting Anjanaharibe-Sud Special Reserve.  Your support is needed, and donations can be made online.  For more information contact Dr. Alison Grand (


If you would like to voice your feelings about the issues facing Anjanaharibe-Sud, letters can be sent to the following individuals. Please send a copy of your letter to us at for our archives. Thank you.