Sri Lanka de­stroys seized bird nests des­tined for soup

Kuwait Times - - HEALTH & SCIENCE -

Sri Lankan cus­tom of­fi­cers on yes­ter­day de­stroyed 45 kilo­grams (99 pounds) of rare bird nests that are con­sid­ered a del­i­cacy in China and have a street value of nearly half a mil­lion dol­lars.

The of­fi­cers burnt the pile of swal­lows’ nests con­fis­cated mainly from pas­sen­gers’ air­port lug­gage and postal parcels in­tended for over­seas de­liv­ery over the past four years. “We de­stroyed this stock to demon­strate our com­mit­ment to pro­tect en­dan­gered species,” cus­toms spokesman Dhar­masena Ka­han­dawa told AFP. “There may be a street value of up to $10,000 for a kilo of birds’ nests, but for us it has no value at all be­cause this is an il­le­gal trade.”

An­other 40 kilo­grams of feath­ers from ex­otic birds and other an­i­mal parts used in Chi­nese medicine were also de­stroyed yes­ter­day, to­gether with the ed­i­ble nests, at a Colombo ceme­tery’s cre­ma­to­rium.

The nests are the main in­gre­di­ent in bird’s nest soup, con­sid­ered a del­i­cacy in China and other Asian coun­tries. But re­mov­ing, own­ing or ex­port­ing birds is out­lawed un­der Sri Lanka’s strict flora and fauna reg­u­la­tions.

The cup-shaped col­lec­tions of twigs are held to­gether by dried swift­let saliva, which is made into a gelati­nous soup cred­ited in China with ev­ery­thing from al­le­vi­at­ing asthma to ar­rest­ing the age­ing process.

In Jan­uary Sri Lankan cus­toms of­fi­cers pub­licly de­stroyed the coun­try’s big­gest ever il­le­gal ivory haul-more than 350 tusks weigh­ing about 1.5 tons — in what of­fi­cials said was an at­tempt to show poach­ers that the is­land would not tol­er­ate the il­le­gal trade. —AFP

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