Madagascar & Western Indian Ocean

Madagascar is remarkable. Many describe its forests and wildlife as magical, mystical, otherworldly, or just plain weird. The largest African island, it's a showcase of evolution, home to many species that are strikingly different, like the emblematic lemurs that are found nowhere else on Earth. Madagascar is also surrounded by the rich, productive waters of the Western Indian Ocean. Deep ocean currents and complex coastal habitats have created spectacular coral reefs that span the coastlines of Kenya, Tanzania, northern Mozambique, and Madagascar. These productive habitats, on land and at sea, are as important to global conservation as they are to the local communities that rely on them.


These island peoples and their natural resources require special attention. They are particularly vulnerable to global climate change.

Our Goal

Help these forests and coral reefs withstand the impacts brought on by a growing human population and global climate change.

8p7i8db3zr  julie larsen maher 1795 madagascar madagascar
Photo Credit: Julie Larsen Maher © WCS

How Will We Get There?

Poverty is widespread throughout the region. Local communities are dependent on natural resources for food, livelihoods, and their well-being, which can lead to depletion of these resources through overfishing or land clearing for agriculture. There are new opportunities for communities to participate in the management of their resources, but these groups often lack the capacity to do so effectively.

Our support strategies include:

Why WCS?

25 years

WCS has conducted conservation and research activities in Madagascar and the Western Indian Ocean for over 25 years.

67 locally managed marine areas

A network of 67 locally managed marine areas (LMMAs) has been established by WCS and partners in Madagascar and is generating invaluable lessons on models of management of sustainable small-scale fisheries with the involvement of local communities.


Coral reefs along the coastline of Kenya, Tanzania, and northern Mozambique form one of the planet's largest fringing reefs and support large tropical fish populations, sharks and rays, dugongs, and sea turtles. Over 80% of the terrestrial species that are found in Madagascar exist nowhere else on earth and the country's marine biodiversity is higher than any other Western Indian Ocean country.

15 million

At least 15 million people depend upon healthy coral reefs in the Western Indian Ocean region.

20 species

The Makira Natural Park, which is managed by WCS, protects 20 species of lemurs and 372,000 hectares of the last remaining stands of low- to mid-elevation tropical rainforest in Madagascar.

Read more:
WCS Madagascar
WCS Tanzania
The Sustainable Wildlife Management Programme


Related News

View All News

Stand for Wildlife

Join more than one million wildlife lovers working to save the Earth's most treasured and threatened species.