Our Story

In November 2001, Nicolas Hulot TV Facilitator flies balloon the Makay massif during the filming of his show Ushuaia Nature. The aerial images are spectacular and the message clear: no one has ever set foot in these deep canyons which act as a biodiversity vault and everything is to be discovered. Passionate about exploration and fallen under the charms of these images, the photographer and scientist Evrard Wendenbaum already dreams of going there.

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Dany Cleyet-Marrel's hot-air balloon hovering over the world's last refuge of the endemic palm tree Ravenea Rivularis. Makay range, Madagascar

In August 2004, he leaves Antananarivo by mountain bike, for a journey through the bush, the culmination of which must be the Makay. But the tracks are sandy and it is difficult to reach the villages at the foot of the massif. Without precise maps and guides ready to take him, he can only see the mountains from a distance. But this trip allowed him to become aware of the difficulty of access to the massif, the bush fires which constitute the main threat to the Madagascan nature and the omnipresence of insecurity in the region linked to dahalos, the thieves of zebu.

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Explorer Evrard Wendenbaum, initiator of the Makay conservation project, discovered the Makay massif for the first time in 2004, in pain. Madagascar

Thanks to images from Google Earth, Evrard is launching in August 2007 a new surveying expedition. La petite équipe de 11 personnes (3 vazahas et huit locaux) pénètre pour la première fois en profondeur dans le labyrinthe de canyons du Makay. Ils filment, photographient et notent tout ce qu’ils peuvent sur les écosystèmes rencontrés, les passages découverts, les animaux et plantes observés. Ils récoltent notamment plus de 40 espèces de plantes qui sont ensuite envoyés au Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle de Paris – dont 5 seront identifiées comme nouvelles -, et découvrent aussi un patrimoine archéologique inattendu : the first cave paintings of Madagascar.

The ecosystems encountered are varied and the landscapes sumptuous. The richness in biodiversity is obvious, as is the archaeological richness. But it is above all the sad observation of the ravages of bush fires within the massif itself and its deepest canyons, which prompts Evrard to want to act for the conservation of the Makay massif.

He then directed the documentary " Makay, the last Eden "From this adventure, in the hope of finding partners for the Makay conservation project which he throws in January 2008, convinced of its inestimable biological wealth and the urgency of its protection.

In August 2009, il fonde avec Emeric Mourot l’association Naturevolution pour porter le projet. Grâce à quelques partenaires privés, Naturevolution lance en January 2010 the first scientific mission ever carried out in the Makay et emmène une douzaine de scientifiques dans le Makay pour près de 4 semaines sur le terrain.

Au sortir de cette mission, le constat est simple et unanime, il faut impérativement y retourner et au plus vite, les milieux naturels du Makay sont d’une immense richesse mais leur survie dépend de notre vitesse d’intervention, the threats étant nombreuses et très fortes.

Naturevolution lance alors, de fin 2010 à début 2011, one of the largest inventory of biodiversity mission ever undertaken in Madagascar and takes in the Makay canyons for three months almost 60 international scientists of any discipline.

This exceptional mission gave rise not only to magnificent archaeological and biological discoveries, but also to the first 3D adventure documentary released in late 2011.

Today Naturevolution actions go far beyond the scientific expeditions et l’association déploie une stratégie holistique de conservation, comprenant des activités de protection et de restauration des milieux naturelsreforestation, forest guards, environmental awareness, activities of local economic developmentecotourism, apiculture, as well as activities aimed at improve local living conditionseducation, food security, medical aid, etc.

These actions also exceed the scope of the Makay. Naturevolution is now turning, with the same urgency caused by the living extinction crisis, to other regions rich in biodiversity, difficult to access and threatened in the short or medium term. This is the case of our project on the island of Sulawesi in Indonesia in particular.