The “salangane paradise” disappearing

Published: 28/04/2011 05:00

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– There was a salanganes island in Quang Binh province in the central region of
Vietnam
many years ago. However, the “salangane paradise” has appeared because of the
cruel treatment of people.


Local residents once named the fallow island which is two miles away
from the seashore, the “salangane’s island”, because there were incalculably
many salanganes. Local historical books said that the products from salanganes
were brought to Thang Long citadel (now Hanoi)
to be presented to the kings, because these were wonderful meals.

In Quang Dong Commune in Quang Trach District of Quang Binh province,
every one knows that the salangane’s island is the home of salanganes, for the last
thousands of years. However, the island has been refused by salanganes because
of the cruel treatment of people to them.

“Salanganes have left the island,” Chair of Quang Dong Commune said
sadly. “Salanganes have become nearly extinct”. It is because the 32 hectare
island is now not the ideal place for salanganes to live any more.

Quang Dong’s local residents have been proud of the salangane’s island,
because the island has been providing a special food for the last many years.
However, local residents nowadays do not “take a loving care” of the salanganes
like their ancestors did in the past. They have been trying to catch as many
salaganes as possible to process attractive meals.

A local resident related that in the salagane oviparous season, he and
other men in the same commune go to the islands to catch birds. They not only
pick up salangane nests, but also catch chicks and eggs to fry for meals.

A young man named “T” said not only young people, but old men also try
to go to the island to catch birds.

“As old men cannot climb the mountains, they try to use rods to poke at
the bird’s nests, so that chicks fall, bump their heads against the cliff and
die. After that, they just need to collect the chicks and cook with the brine,”
T said.

“A pot of birds includes nearly one kilogram of birds,” he added.
Meanwhile, young people try to catch all the things they can, from chicks,
parent birds to eggs.

However, the limited number of birds cannot satisfy the high demand of
people. As there are no more parent birds, bird nests or bird eggs. People have
been catching newly hatched birds as well.

Local residents now whisper in each other ears that newly hatched
salanganes would help men become virile, and are nourishing to all people. As a
result, people have been rushing to catch newly hatched birds and soak them in
liquor.

Vo Quang Dat, Chair of Quang Dong Commune’s People Committee, has
confirmed that local residents have been too ruthless to salanganes. The birds,
feeling that the island is not a safe place for them to live any more, have to
leave for other “paradises”.

Dat also said that people have accidentally driven salanganes from the
island. Two years ago, people sprayed insect killing chemical substances into the
holes on the island to kill black beetles, in an effort to develop tourism. The
move has accidentally changed the living environment of salanganes and forced
salanganes to leave.

Saigon Tiep Thi’s reporters, who arrived in the island, could see with their
eyes, the “salanganes’ island with no salangane”. It took only 30 minutes to
get to the island with motor boat. There are six workers from the Khanh Hoa
Salangane,s Nest Corporation, who have been assigned an important task: luring
salanganes to the “old paradise”.

The Khanh Hoa provincial authorities have agreed to cooperate with the
corporation to lure salanganes to the island. A lot of modern machines and
equipment have been brought to the island, while most experienced workers have
also been brought there. However, after two months of living on the island, the
workers can lure only six birds.

Local residents now understand that they themselves have destroyed a big
heritage left by the ancestors.

“Many years ago, in the subsidization period, when I was too hungry, I
tried to catch birds to eat instead of rice,” a fisherman named “N” said.

“At that time, the island looked black with many salanganes. But now
there are no salangane. People are really inhumane. Now when we hear about the big
uses of salangane nests, we feel regret that we could not keep the “golden
mine,” he continued.

Dat said that the local authorities have called on local people to join
forces to create a good environment for salanganes.

Source: SGTT

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