Wildlife consumption and human nutrition

Local people hunt wildlife for a constellation of different reasons but one of the primary benefits of wildlife consumption is obtaining critical micronutrients that are absent in the rest of a traditional Malagasy diet. Animal-source foods are incredibly important sources of fats and micronutrients such as iron, zinc, and vitamins A and B complex. Conservation policy prohibits much of the hunting that now occurs illegally. If wildlife populations became depleted from unsustainable harvest or if conservation policy were enforced and access was lost, then the nutritional health consequences to local food security could be major. Since 2008, we have been studying local human health in detail and conducted a prospective cohort study to investigate the epidemiology of anemia associated with bushmeat consumption. More recently, we finished a 15-month prospective cohort study of more than 140 households investigating the relationship between wildlife consumption and a broad suite of vitamins, micronutrients and fatty acids. Although empirical research is now finished on-the-ground, this is still an active area of analysis for our group.

  1. Golden, D., L. C. H. Fernald, J. S. Brashares, B. J. R. Rasolofoniaina, and C. Kremen. 2011. Benefits of wildlife consumption to child nutrition in a biodiversity hotspot. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, U.S.A. 108:19653-19656.
  2. Golden, D., M. Bonds, J. S. Brashares, B. J. R. Rasolofoniaina and C. Kremen. 2014. Economic valuation of subsistence harvest of wildlife in Madagascar. Conservation Biology 28: 234-243.
  3. Golden, C. D., Rabehatonina, A. Rakotosoa, and M. Moore. Socio-ecological analysis of natural resource use in Betampona Strict Natural Reserve. Madagascar Conservation & Development, North America, 9, Nov. 2014. Available at: <http://journalmcd.com/index.php/mcd/article/view/mcd.v9i2.4>.
  4. Borgerson, C., Johnson, S.E., Louis, E.E., Holmes, S.M., Anjaranirina, E.J.G., Randriamady, H.J., and Golden, C.D. The use of natural resources to improve household income, health, and nutrition within the forests of Kianjavato, Madagascar. Madagascar Conservation & Development 13(1): doi: 10.4314/mcd.v13i1.6
  5. Borgerson, C., Vonona, M. A., Vonona, T., Anjaranirina, E. J. G., Lewis, R., Ralainasolo, F. and Golden, C. D. 201 8. An evaluation of the interactions among household economies, human health, and wildlife hunting in the Lac Alaotra wetland complex of Madagascar. Madagascar Conservation & Development 13(1) doi:10.431 4/mcd.v1 3i1 .5
  6. Borgerson, C., Razafindrapaoly, D., Rajaona, B., Rasolofoniaina, B. J. R. and C. D. Golden. Food Insecurity and the Unsustainable Hunting of Wildlife in a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems 3, 99.