In Madagascar’s jungles, the fossa (Cryptoprocta ferox) is king. A cousin of the mongoose, this cat-like creature is the island’s top predator, able to hunt Madagascar’s other unique offering to the world: lemurs. Humans feed on both. The problem: lemurs and fossas are threatened and endemic species protected under Malagasy law. About half of the households surveyed in a recent study reported eating lemur meat and a quarter had consumed fossa meat. Consumption of wild meat is considered a major threat to conservation efforts by protected area managers in other parts of Africa too. To design an intervention to reduce hunting pressure, researchers from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) interviewed people living in and around Makira Natural Park (MNP). They wanted to gauge the significance of lemur and fossa meat in local diets. A fossa (Cryptoprocta ferox) the top predator in Madagascar’s jungles. Image by Julie Larsen Maher/WCS. These hunters don’t seek to deliberately break laws; they’re mostly villagers falling back on survival tactics that have existed in their communities for millennia. Bushmeat is important in their diet, which is otherwise rice-heavy and lacks protein. Lemurs and fossas, Madagascar’s largest mammal, are hefty meat sources. They also hunt the indri (Indri Indri), the biggest lemur in existence today. This long-limbed primate sports panda colors and grows to up to 72 centimeters (28 inches). Despite its gangly appearance, it’s quite acrobatic, bounding from tree to tree. MNP is one of the last remaining refuges of the indri, and is also home to 16 other kinds…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer

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