In honor of International Day of Biological Diversity, we’re unveiling the winners of CEPF’s ninth annual grantee photo contest!
The annual photo contest gives CEPF the chance to showcase the incredible work grantees do to protect and promote biodiversity. Every year we receive photos from biodiversity hotspots around the world highlighting species, critical ecosystems and the dedicated people who turn conservation strategies into concrete action.
The slogan for 2022’s International Day for Biological Diversity is “Building a shared future for all life,” a mission pursued by CEPF and its grantees that is clearly shown in the many incredible images submitted this year.
Congratulations to this year’s winners and thank you to all of our grantees who participated across the globe. CEPF appreciates all you do!
In western Madagascar, the Tsimembo Manambolomaty Protected Area is home to a high diversity of endemic species, including the Critically Endangered Madagascar fish eagle (Haliaeetus vociferoides). The total population of this species is estimated not to exceed 120 pairs.
The area’s wetlands are vital for the Madagascar fish eagles, providing an essential food source and habitat. The wetlands are, however, the most endangered ecosystem in Madagascar and face threats of overfishing, pollution and deforestation.
This year’s winning image of two Madagascar fish eagles was taken in Tsimembo Manambolomaty by Lily Arison Rene de Roland, national director of CEPF grantee The Peregrine Fund.
The image captures a rare glimpse of male and female fish eagles perched together, which Lily views as a sign of hope for reproduction of the species and a reminder that they must be protected if the species is to survive.
“Most of the local community surrounding the Tsimembo Manambolomaty protected area are fishermen,” said Lily. “They know that the Madagascar fish eagle is very threatened and that's why they are very active in managing and protecting this area to improve their livelihood from fishing and conserve the habitat of this species.”
With funding from CEPF, The Peregrine Fund is currently working to protect the Tsimembo Manambolomaty ecosystem by improving the surveillance and community management of the protected area diversifying local incomes through the introduction of new livelihoods such as beekeeping and the cultivation of moringa and fruit trees.
Also in Madagascar, CEPF grantee Arboretum d’Antsokay was established to educate the local community and raise awareness about plant diversity and sustainable natural resource management.
Winner of the “Facebook Favorite” award, the arboretum’s manager, Andry Petignat, has dedicated his life to protecting the flora of the Madagascar spiny thicket and raising awareness about this increasingly fragmented ecosystem. His winning photo features male and female gray-headed lovebirds (Agapornis cana) perched on a blooming Madagascar octopus tree (Didierea madagascariensis) with silver thicket (Euphorbia stenoclada) in the foreground in Saint-Augustin, Toliara, southwest Madagascar.
Andry, who was recognized by CEPF as a Hotspot Hero in 2016, views the photo as representative of the Madagascar spiny thicket.
“Lovebirds—and all organisms—are important to every natural habitat; every species plays a role in maintaining a healthy, balanced ecosystem, and therefore their conservation is of critical importance,” said Andry. “The birds of the spiny thicket of Madagascar are hugely popular and engaging. Biodiversity promotes ecotourism, providing local and national economic benefits and employment opportunities.”
Arboretum d’Antsokay has conducted multiple CEPF-funded projects, the most recent of which focused on supporting the local economy in the vicinity of the Tsinjoriake and Amoron’I Onilahy protected areas by fostering private sector investment in ecotourism and promoting partnerships between private operators and communities.
You can find more entries from our photo contest in the CEPF 2022 Photo Contest album on Facebook.