With far too many people demanding rare and exotic meat around the world, it's sad that many endangered species are still being hunted. It's either tradition, lack of food or now being seen as a way to satisfy the culinary appetite of adventurous foodies, but many species are being eaten to extinction.
Gorillas and Chimpanzees
Popularly known as ?bush meat', chimpanzees and gorillas are eaten as part of cultural tradition in many parts of Africa. Bush meat or meat from wild animals is the primary source of protein for many communities around the world.
According to a study published in the Journal Mammal Review, more than three million tonnes of 'bush meat' is being extracted from the Congo Basin area in Africa every year. The study found that the rate of hunting is higher than ever because of malnutrition in the area and urges for more funding to help the local community find alternative sources of food. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has revealed that as many as half of all species of primates are in danger of extinction.
Green see turtles are being hunted for everything from their shells and leather to flesh and fat. The eggs and meat was a delicacy in Hawaii until they got protection under the Endangered Species Act in 1977. They get their name from the green fat that is found beneath their shell. Sea turtles and their eggs are still being traded across many South-East Asian countries.
Bluefin tuna is a favorite for sushi in Japan. Despite being an endangered species, it is one of the most overfished species. Japan consumes about 80 percent of the world's Bluefin and International conservation agencies blame the demand of Bluefin for sushi and sashimi for the rapid decline in its population. In November 2014, the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List moved Pacific bluefin tuna from "least concern" to "vulnerable,".
The Chinese Giant Salamander is the largest amphibian in the world and also on that is critically endangered due to human consumption. The species is known to reach about six feet in length. Its meat is considered to be a delicacy in many parts of the world.
Pangolin is one of the world's most hunted animal. All eight species of this scaly anteater are threatened due to illegal hunting. They are in high demand in China and Vietnam for their meat at banquets and for their scales that are used in Chinese medicine.
Whale meat is very high in protein and very low in saturated fat. Japan has a long history of whaling and so does Norway and Iceland. Some of the other sea mammals that are endangered and yet consumed include dolphins, seal and sea lions.
The Indian Purple Frog, an endemic and endangered amphibian found exclusively in the biodiversity hotspot of Western Ghats in India, is facing extinction threats due to the consumption of tadpoles by local tribes. An old practice of consumption of the Purple tadpoles is prevalent among tribal communities in the state.
Would you eat shark fin soup? The predator is in deep trouble due to this Chines delicacy which many people seem to love. Trading in shark fins is extremely lucrative. A single bowl of soup can cost hundreds of dollars. Although it is mostly consumed in Asia, fishing for their fins has become a global phenomenon.
A bird that was once abundant is now in danger of extinction. Yellow-Breasted Buntings breed north of the Himalayas and spend their winters in warmer Southeast Asia, passing through eastern China where it has been hunted for more than 2,000 years, despite a hunting ban.
These wild beasts are mostly poached for their tusk, but they are also highly prized for their meat. It is consumed in Africa as delicacy. The meat from the trunk is considered to be very delicate and flavourful. In some Asian cultures, it is believed that consuming an elephant's genitals can boost sexual prowess.