When endangered species are on the menu

Researchers monitored the food intake and health of 77 children whose families lived inside the Makira Protected Area of Madagascar, and whose diets included lemurs and bats.

Reducing this illegal hunting – either by stricter law enforcement or because of wildlife depletion – could lead to a 29% increase in the incidence of anaemia in the children, they estimated.

“It is clearly not environmentally sustainable for children to eat endangered animals, but in the context of remote, rural Madagascar, households don’t always have a choice,” the authors noted.

PNAS 2011; online 21 Nov