Bushmeat is more often associated with mammals (majorly modest to large-sized mammals where herbivores like Giraffes and Antelopes, or primates such as monkeys come to mind first) which are an obvious tourist attractions. It is therefore possible that birds are overlooked as a lesser attraction yet many of these are important indicator species of the state of the environment, natural crop pest controllers and probably even have a role in breaking the life cycles of disease agents that would otherwise harm man.
Poisoned Openbills. Openbills are specialist snail feeders.
The much poisoned specialist snail feeder, African Open-billed Stork may have a role in checking Bilharzia by feeding on the water snails of which may include those that harbor the bilharzia vectors. This disease has historical high prevalence in native society set-ups with unfurnished toilet habits and pools of water…which more or less define the status quo in Bunyala. It is worth acknowledging however that Kenya’s birdwatching sector of tourism industry is picking up at the moment with a modest proportion of tourists inclined to birdwatching. Sadly however, the sector may not just live to yield its full potential because important birds’ wetlands inclusive of the unsung Bunyala are losing their bird populations in obscene proportions rendering the sites lacklustre in bird life.
The on-going bird poisoning in Kenya (also known to take place in some irrigation schemes in Uganda) is all aimed at obtaining meat for human consumption-Bushmeat. The technique remains a perfect disguise leaving no trace to follow of how the birds were massacred and an unresolved conundrum on the effects of the poison to the human consumers……but certainly the carcases end up in human beings’ stomachs which follows the illustrated meticulous preparation below. I should humbly warn you esteemed readers to observe viewer discretion for the following images .
The bird is purchased or picked up as a runaway bird that died away from the poisoning site
Once at home, the bird is prepared-feathers removed- by the mother or child (the case above) at the homestead. The child has no caution of handling the bird whose digestive system may be oozing fluids with the raw poison. Just shows recklessness and there is likelihood that the kid will be subjected to primary intoxication.
The bird is pre-roasted while still with the entrails before opening it up to remove the entrails.
The entire digestive system is then removed from the bird. This ideally “removes the parts where the poison is contained”. But what of the poison that circulated in the other body tissues before the bird died?The entrails are disposed off very cautiously lest chicken, cats or dogs feed on them and die instantly! The head (without the beak) and the legs of the bird are however given to the dogs.
Gizzard showing grit & rice that was laced in Furadan solution & responsible for the ducks death.
Shockingly, the gizzard which is part of the digestive system but renowned for being tasty is also prepared for cooking and consumption!
The bird is then thoroughly washed, especially the inside body cavity
The bird is then roasted a second time until all fluids drip dry.
The ready chunk above will be cooked normally and served for a meal.
This indiscriminate killing of birds for meat is a looming threat to the birds’ survival, crippling the avitourism industry and compromising human health. It is a deadly turn of events!