Madagascar faces dual challenges in biodiversity and public health. The island nation is both one of the most biodiverse and least food secure countries on earth. The survival of endemic lemurs (94% of which are threatened with extinction) depends on the sustainable hunting of a malnourished human population who commonly hunts them for food.
This project is building upon 12 years of research on hunting surrounding the Masoala National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the largest national park in Madagascar. The best predictor of lemur trapping is food insecurity. Few alternatives to wild meats are available in adequate supply. In order to reduce the unsustainable hunting of threatened lemurs, the project team is working to increase the affordability, accessibility, and quality of animal-sourced foods in villages where forests contribute to food security.
In Madagascar, insects are an indispensable part of seasonal diets for many ethnic groups. The native Fulgorid planthopper - a moderately sized insect - called "sakondry" in the Malagasy language, is a widely-preferred food source that is high in essential nutrients. Further, its biological characteristics are favorable for semi-cultivation and enhanced farming. This project is working with local communities to quantitatively measure the impacts of enhanced and expanded insect farming on the practice of targeted-hunting of threatened lemurs. These activities will also help protect other non-lemur species in Masoala National Park including those presented in the interactive list on the right of this proejct profile.
This project aims to improve rural nutrition and food security in ways that reduce targeted lemur-hunting in test-villages by at least 50%.