One of the poorest nations, Madagascar is home to a wealth of unique species that live in its rainforests. Unfortunately, these rainforests are slowly disappearing because of logging operations and to make room for coffee plantations.
There is hope, however, and it takes the form of wild silk. Along with lemurs and miniature chameleons, Madagascar’s rainforests are also home to indigenous silk moths which innovative groups around the country are using to develop a local wild silk industry.
The wild silk not only provides income to those involved (one cooperative made $37,000 at this year’s Santa Fe International Folk Arts Market alone), but also nourishment as the chrysalides are an excellent source of protein. This means that not only are the forests where the wild silk moths live being protected, but communities now have less reason to illegally hunt in protected forests for bush meat.
As if there weren’t enough reasons to love wild silks, you can now add “helping to save the rainforest” to the list.