Cortni Borgerson, an assistant professor in the Anthropology Department, has been awarded a research and exploration grant for $44,592 from the National Geographic Society. Her project, “Edible insects for reducing the illegal hunting of threatened lemurs on the Masoala Peninsula of Madagascar”, aims to tackle the illegal hunting of lemurs due to food insecurity.
Madagascar is currently facing dual challenges in biodiversity and public health. The survivorship of lemurs (94% of which are threatened with extinction) depends on the sustainable hunting of a malnourished human population who commonly hunts them for food. In Madagascar, insects are an indispensable part of seasonal diets for many ethnic groups. The native Fulgorid plant hopper, the sakondry or bacon bug, is a widely-preferred traditional food source that is high in essential nutrients.
Professor Borgerson’s project will build upon 13 years of research on illegal lemur-hunting in Madagascar. The project will design native-insect farming methods for rural households, and quantitatively measure the effects of enhanced and expanded insect farming (and eating) on food security and the targeted-hunting of threatened lemurs.