Fortuna snails and scavengers, invasive species that make some foodies shudder, once they arrive in india, surprisingly need to be farmed to meet market demand, especially the fortuna snail, which, as one of the world's top 100 invasive alien species, has been planted in india, so it is clear that, in this respect, indian foodies are the real foodies.
But what you might not expect is that indians, who are hardly picky eaters, would turn a blind eye to birds the size of a human being that no one cares about, and that live in some of the dirtiest and poorest areas of india. Let's find out.
The dirtiest place in india - brogan landfill
India is a large country with a population of 1.38 billion, although in terms of population, india does not have as many people as china (1.402 billion in 2020), but india's land area is only 3.287 million square kilometres, only about 1/3 of china a little more, a relatively small area plus a large number of people, india can be described as "Overcrowded india can be described as "Overcrowded".
So many people produce a staggering amount of waste every day that there are several large landfills in india (which cannot be disposed of), the largest of which is the brogan landfill near the city of gauhati, a so-called landfill for human waste that was never intended to be disposed of (and actually cannot be disposed of).
Around 500 tonnes of waste is brought in from nearby cities every day and dumped here at random. Over time, the brogan landfill has grown to cover an area of 580 acres and with its constant influx of waste and huge footprint, brogan has become the largest landfill in india.
Despite the usual stench, there are a surprising 100 families living near the brogan landfill, all of whom are very poor and have settled here because although it is a filthy place, it is good to be able to rummage through the rubbish to find some valuable waste, which can be sold to feed the family.
Therefore, the daily routine of the inhabitants, from adults to children, is to go through the rubbish piles with a dirty woven bag.
Apart from the residents, the dump has also become a "Paradise for animals" And the most numerous animal living here is the bald stork, a bird bigger than a man. There are around 3,000 bald storks living around the brogan dump and they often blend in with the scavengers, leaving each other alone.
If it is poor people who live here, why do so many birds go unnoticed?
There are many stories about the large birds of the brogan dump, the most unifying one being that the bald storks feed on rubbish and are so dirty that the people in the neighbourhood do not eat them even when they are hungry. However, this theory is obviously based on speculation without knowing the habits of the bald stork. Let's talk about the real reason why the storks live in harmony with people.
First of all, let's learn about the bald stork
The bald stork is a large wading bird in the genus stork. So what is a wading bird? Waders are one of the six ecological groups of birds that are highly adapted to life around water and have a predominantly carnivorous diet, and this is true of the bald stork, which is purely carnivorous and gets most of its food from shallow water, with small reptiles and insects dominating the diet on land.
Bald storks are large, averaging 1.2 metres in length, weighing around 10 kg and standing up to 1.2 metres in height, and their most distinctive feature is that their entire neck is barely covered in feathers, somewhat similar to a vulture.
In terms of breeding habits, vulture storks prefer to nest in tall trees. When nesting, they usually choose some dead branches and put some leaves inside as bedding.
Of course, they will also nest on the ground if there are no tall trees in the vicinity of their habitat, as in the case of the following bald stork.
Why are bald storks found in landfill sites?
Many people on the internet say that bald storks are looking for edible rubbish, but in fact bald storks are carnivores and rarely have scavenging habits, so there is no food for them in landfills. The reason for their presence in india's largest dump is that the brogan dump is surrounded by a swampy environment, which is perfect for wading birds like the stork, and the storks are not attracted to the rubbish in the dump, but they were already living there, only the dump was built and took over their living space.
So the dump is actually a resting place for the storks, who instinctively fly back to it when they have finished feeding in the nearby marshes, and the heaps of rubbish are 3-5 metres high, in keeping with their habit of roosting up high.
Why don't the poor people in the neighbourhood eat the storks?
Since bald storks do not eat rubbish, it is unlikely that the people in the neighbourhood do not eat them because they are dirty.
First, the stork's habits. Bald storks are a very alert bird and they will fly away immediately when they meet a stranger. Although bald storks are relatively large, they can still burst into flight at 40-60 km/h. The reason why they do not leave when they meet a litter picker is that these litter pickers do not show malice towards the bald stork over a long period of time, so we will see images of bald storks standing close to the litter pickers.
However, even today, when strangers approach, they still fly away very quickly, as photographer timothy bouldry encountered when he went to the field to photograph them. (the picture below was taken by photographer timothy bouldry in the field and the bald stork flew off quickly when it saw him)
Secondly: The status of the bald stork. Although there are thousands of bald storks living near the dump, the bald stork has long since become a protected animal. In china it is a grade ii national animal, while in india, although not as highly protected, it has been listed among the protected birds since the late 20th century and was classified as vulnerable by the iucn in 2016.
This is one of the main reasons why people nearby do not actively hunt bald storks for food.
The brogan landfill is the largest landfill in india and is home to around 3,000 bald storks, but it is not the landfill that feeds the storks, in fact the food comes from the swamp near the landfill, so it is the landfill that takes over the storks' habitat.
The reason why the locals would rather starve than eat them is simple: On the one hand they are protected animals and on the other hand the storks have formed an understanding with the people (from running away when they see people in the early days, they can now stand with them, but only with the inhabitants of the area).