Putting Food Needs First
How Alternative Proteins Could Save Madagascar’s Endangered Biodiversity

Executive Summary

Madagascar is one of the most biodiverse countries on Earth, and is home to a variety of endemic animal and plant species, including more than 100 species of lemur. Traditional conservation policies and laws have attempted to safeguard this wildlife for more than a century, but haven’t always thoughtfully addressed the needs and motivations of people living in these environments.

Today, humans are impacting wildlife in Madagascar including its charismatic lemurs in two key ways: through land use change driven by agriculture and energy needs, and through the hunting of wildlife for subsistence needs. Both land use change and hunting can have positive and negative public health implications. For example, while the latter provides a critical source of nutrition, particularly for poor rural communities, hunted wildlife also increases the risk of exposure to zoonotic disease.

Set in the Maroantsetra region of northeastern Madagascar, this case looks at interventions that could dually support wildlife conservation and promote human health. These interventions include the possibility of sustainable wildlife harvest as well as domestic animal rearing. Chickens are one of the desired domestic animals, and this case explores efforts to make the switch to domestic animal rearing possible and sustainable.

This case study was drafted based on interviews conducted in northeastern Madagascar and Antananarivo, Madagascar, in March 2019.

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This case study was written by Hilary Duff

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