The island of Marco Polo

June 12 and 13, 2015
Venice, Museum of Natural History

Isolated from Africa to many tens of millions of years, Madagascar has developed its own peculiar fauna and flora, dramatically different from that of other land masses, near and far.

Similarly colonization by man, which took place on a massive scale only for two thousand years, has seen the mix of elements Africans, Asians, Arabs and Europeans who have forged a culture of “metissage” composed of no less than 18 ethnic groups each with its particular history and traditions, have in common the basic language of Indonesian origin and the cult of the dead, called “famadihana”.

Unfortunately Madagascar is also a land of great contrasts, with widespread problems of social and economic. The days that pay special attention to aspects concerning the natural wealth and cultural diversity of this island, home to the intervention of researchers that deal with biodiversity and personnel working in health, showing how much Italy is engaged in this country.

In collaboration with the Regional Museum of Natural Sciences (Museo Regionale di Scienze Naturali) of Turin and the Association “Malagasy Miray.”

Amphibian courtesy of Franco Andreone

Video below: Interview of Franco Andreone (herpetologist) at Andriamanero, Isalo National Park.

This video is in Italian: #madagascarexpedition2013: Betampona Rainforest




Friday, June 12, 2015 20.30 – Cinema Giorgione

Screening of the film in English “Island of lemurs in Madagascar” by David Douglas and Drew Fellman, with narrated by Morgan Freeman and with Patricia Wright

Introduction and presentation of: Franco Andreone (Museo Regionale di Scienze Naturali Regional Museum of Natural Sciences of Turin) Giuseppe Donati (Oxford Brookes University)

Entrance to the Cinema Giorgione free until all available seats

Saturday, June 13, 2015 – Natural History Museum

10.30 Welcome and opening of the day
Gabriella Belli (Director Civic Museums Foundation of Venice)
Paola Casagrande (Director of the Museo Regionale di Scienze Naturali Regional Museum of Natural Sciences of Turin) Randrianantoandro Solofo Theophile (Minister Counsellor Embassy of Madagascar)

Franco Andreone (Museo Regionale di Scienze Naturali Regional Museum of Natural Sciences of Turin)
Madagascar: stories from a biodiverse land biodiverse

Giuseppe Donati (Oxford Brookes University)
Survive the next day: the lesson of lemurs


Riccardo Bononi (IRFOSS Padua)
Life, death and disease in the ancestor worship

Italian volunteers in Madagascar
Friends Amici di Jangany
The Italian volunteer in MadagascarVolontari Italiani in Madagascar

Olga del Madagascar
Culture, nature and music: songs taken from ‘album “Ma nature”

Tasting The with Malagasy vanilla

Hours 10:00 to 18:00 – Gallery of Cetaceans

Photo exhibition “Madagasikara” by Franco Andreone: throughout the day and until August 2, 2015 will be exhibited suggestive images dedicated to the nature, history and traditions of Madagascar.

Information points: voluntary associations will be on hand to talk about their experience in Madagascar

appointment until all available seats

Hours 10:30 to 12:00 and 15:30 to 17:00
Children aged 7 to 11 years

“The nature of the island”, edited by Coop. Silty
“Sounds and rhythms of Madagascar”, edited by Olga del Madagascar:

10:15, 11:30, 15:00, 16:15
For children 4 to 6 years accompanied by their parents

“The chameleon says narrates, animal stories and legends of Madagascar” by Barchetta Blu


The day is free entry until all the places available, except for laboratories that require an admission ticket to the museum (free for residents and people born in Venice, upon presentation of a photo ID).

To book workshops call 041 2750206

The photo exhibition will be open for free only on the occasion of this day and until August 2, 2015 is required to be in possession of a ticket to the museum.


Information shared by:

Franco Andreone
Museo Regionale di Scienze Naturali
Via G. Giolitti, 36
website www.francoandreone.it
Facebook www.facebook.com/franco.andreone
Twitter @francoandreone
Youtube Betampona
Youtube Isalo


Burned Forests Threaten the Frogs of Madagascar – Guest Post, Franco Andreone

We are so pleased that Franco Andreone, Associate Curator of Zoology, Responsible for Herpetological and Ichthyological Collections, Museo Regionale di Scienze Naturali, Torino, Italy, offered to write a guest post for Frogs Are Green about his recent visit to Madagascar and what he encountered there—the possible extinction of  frogs species due to the destruction of its forests.


In October, I visited the Ankaratra, a massif next to Madagascar’s capital Antananarivo, for a quick trip in an attempt to see two of the most threatened (maybe “the most threatened”) frog species of Madagascar: Boophis williamsii and Mantidactylus pauliani.

They are both CR species and live in an area that is not yet protected and has been heavily altered. For some time, on behalf of the Amphibian Specialist Group (ASG), we have advocated the need for protecting this area. To this end, a project has been set up with the help of Conservation International and the collaboration of many colleagues, with the aim of securing the area, which is also very important because it is a draining basin for potable water for the city of Ambatolampy. Through the ASG it was also possible to get a MacArthur grant that will be helpful for any further action.

Some people, notably from the Langaha Association and Madagasikara Voakajy, have begun work on the species, along with other herp species (i.e. Furcifer campani); they have collected data on both B. williamsii and M. pauliani. The two species appear VERY localised, with no more than three spots where they have been found. M. pauliani appeared a little bit more common, but we observed less than ten B. williamsii individuals.

I was already concerned about the threats to these species and their habitat. The bad news is that during the rapid survey we did (a few hours visit), we noticed that almost ALL the exotic forest was burned. This forest, composed mainly of pines, assured a certain naturalness to the area, and prevented erosion. Now, following the voluntary burning events of last July, almost all the forest has been “transformed” into charcoal. This will have serious and terrible consequences for the human populations, especially for the availability of drinking water. Most likely, during the next rainy season there will be accelerated erosion and the water will become heavily polluted. Clearly the amphibian populations will be tragically affected as well. Although one of the sites is still within a small parcel of “natural” forest, the burned trees are all around, and at the other sites the fire event has destroyed the small residual (ferns, grass) vegetation that likely assured the survival of the species.

During the visit we found some B. williamsii, but we really wonder what the effect of the next rains will be. The tadpoles need clear and clean water, and if the water is polluted by erosion, they will most likely die.

Furthermore, there really is a risk that the species will be driven to extinction within a short time.

Boophis williamsii courtesy of Franco Andreone

Boophis williamsii tadpole courtesy of Franco Andreone

Habitat Ankaratra courtesy of Franco Andreone

Mantidactylus pauliani courtesy of Franco Andreone

For more information, please visit my website:  www.francoandreone.it