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Professor’s Research Featured in National Geographic Magazine

Posted in: Anthropology, Homepage News and Events, Research

photo of professor Cornti Borgerson outside with trees in background. the National Geographic logo is in the top right of the photo

Anthropology Professor Cortni Borgerson recently had a childhood dream fulfilled – seeing her research published in National Geographic. The May print edition of the magazine includes a feature story, “Lending Aid to Lemurs,” which highlights Borgerson’s years-long work in Masoala, Madagascar.

“I grew up with shelves of National Geographic magazines in my home and would read them endlessly, dreaming of one day exploring the incredible places and meeting the amazing people featured within its pages,” says Borgerson. “It’s incredibly humbling to think that there could be a kid out there in the world, sitting on their bedroom floor, opening this month’s issue to see me. I want to let them know that they’re next. There is so much in this world to do and discover.”

Bogerson, an anthropologist, primatologist, conservation biologist, and National Geographic Explorer, wants to help save lemurs from hunting without leaving Masoala communities hungry. She has been working with villagers to develop sustainable ways to farm sakondry, or “bacon bugs,” as a staple food source which can fill many of the nutritional gaps left by the famine while reducing the pressure on the shrinking forests.

The sakondry are native to Madagascar and thrive in the current climate, creating a great opportunity to farm the insects and save the endangered lemur population. Borgerson’s early studies in Madagascar showed that in some villages, 75% of animal-source foods come from forest animals, including lemurs. The research also found that there are higher rates of malnutrition in households that hunt lemurs, indicating that the hunting is driven, at least partially, by food insecurity.

Borgerson plans to return to Masoala later this year with her family to continue her research and work with Masoala communities. “It’s truly a place unlike any other left on earth- where critically endangered lemurs live within biodiverse tropical rainforests that reach sandy ocean shores. I’m so incredibly excited for readers around the world to learn about a place that is so very dear to my heart.”

Borgerson’s work was also recently featured in the BBC Earth “Our Planet Earth” series, which spotlights people and communities dedicating their lives to building a more sustainable world.

Read the National Geographic article here

Learn more:

BBC’s People Fixing the World podcast
Bugs! They’re What’s For Dinner
Eating Insects to Fight the Climate Crisis
Faculty Spotlight: Cortni Borgerson