Magazine article Geographical

Editor's Letter

Magazine article Geographical

Editor's Letter

Article excerpt

One of the joys of travelling is that it gives us opportunity to sample all kinds of unusual foods. For some reason, being on holiday often makes us more daring than we are back at home -- all of a sudden it seems fine to be eating snake or crunching on insects. But it's worth sparing a thought for the species before taking the first bite. One speciality served up in Asian countries is bird's nest soup. In the Philippines for a mere 1.95 [pounds sterling] you can order a bowl of this delicacy made from the edible nests of swiftlets. The problem is that the soup is so much in demand -- some people believe it can cure diseases -- that the firms harvesting the nests are becoming ever more ruthless. They use armed guards to protect their `patch' and are not afraid to use violence to deter anyone who comes near. Consequently, the numbers of swiftlets are falling as the birds return to find their nests -- and often their chicks -- gone. You can read more about the bird's nest industry on page 14.

In the USA, another threatened species -- the orang-utah -- has been finding its voice. …

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