Man eats one of the worlds rarest animals says it tastes delicious

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Man eats one of the worlds rarest animals says it tastes delicious

When zoologists went looking for the very rare long-beaked Echidna in Papua New Guinea, a tribesman told them he had just eaten one an it was delicious.

Fears that one of the world’s rarest creatures had been driven to extinction have been allayed by a tribesman who told conservationists he had recently eaten one.

Attenborough’s long-beaked echidna, a little-known, primitive mammal that lays eggs, lives in Papua New Guinea. Only one specimen, found in 1961, has ever been seen by scientists.

But fresh evidence that proves the echidna, which was named in honour of the naturalist Sir David Attenborough, is still alive has been found during an expedition by zoologists. Seven people told the scientists that they had seen the spiny creature, which is a relative of the platypus.

One of the villagers said that he had trapped one in a snare and eaten it in the jungle, being unaware of how rare and sought-after the echidna was. “It was delicious,” he said.

Further proof of the echidna’s survival was found in the form of holes in the ground which showed where the creature had been hunting for worms to eat. The holes were from the animal’s distinctive beak and in some places it had pressed so far into the soft mud that it had left impressions of its head in the ground. Burrows were also found, but none was occupied.

Sir David Attenborough was delighted to learn that a creature was still alive. “That is good news,” he enthused. “Of course, I’m delighted. I would like to meet it.”

The expedition to find the echidna was part of the Zoological Society of London’s Edge programme which aims to find, learn about and help to protect some of the world’s most endangered animals. It was led by Dr Jonathan Baillie of the ZSL, who said the discovery that villagers in the Cyclops Mountains of Papua New Guinea were familiar with the echidna was immensely reasuring, even if they did eat them occasionally.

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By netchicken: posted on 16-7-2007








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