Two years ago, the villagers of Ambodifohara on the Masoala Peninsula in northeastern Madagascar knew nothing about sakondry, a small hopping insect, except that it was tasty. Locals would collect it when they came across it, and that was that. A chance forest snack. Fast-forward to late 2020, and the insect is now a staple. “We eat sakondry regularly, almost every day during high season,” says BeNoel Razafindrapaoly, a resident. This change of status is the outcome of the Sakondry program, which Cortni Borgerson, an anthropologist at Montclair State University in New Jersey, developed in collaboration with the IUCN Save Our Species initiative. The idea was to see whether farming the insect, and therefore increasing its consumption, could halt biodiversity loss and reduce malnutrition. A woman cooks sakondry for sale. Image by by Cortni Borgerson. “When you ask people why they are hunting [lemurs], the number one reason is: ‘it’s there and it’s easy to catch,’” Borgerson says. “If you just tell people not to hunt something, you increase food insecurity.” To get people to stop hunting lemurs, Borgerson says they needed to find a replacement that fills the same cultural role as lemur meat. “Sakondry does just that. Both sakondry and lemurs are wild ‘natural’ foods, which are fatty, clean, cheap, peak in availability during seasons of low food security, and are traditionally eaten and tied to local identity.” Borgerson says that the idea of farming sakondry (Zanna tenebrosa) came from the villagers themselves. “When we asked what meats…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer