FACT OF THE DAY Overpopulation of pink flamingos: the Department takes the powder of escopette

The flamingos, emblematic of the Gard Camargue, are now too numerous… Photo via MaxPPP

Already heavily impacted economically by the covid epidemic which paralyzed the activity of herdsmen and tourism, the Petite Camargue now finds itself facing a rather unexpected consequence of global warming and the confinement of 2021. The growth of the The flamingo population continues an exponential curve and control shots will be put in place. Explanations.

The least we can write is that this one, we didn’t see it coming! An ornithological reserve and a veritable sanctuary for these graceful birds, the Petite Camargue now hosts a colony of some 2,500 pink flamingos which have largely benefited from the confinement of 2021 and the absence of tourists to grow and multiply. To the point that their demographic management now poses a problem. Where there were approximately 1,500 a short time ago, this overpopulation of Phoenicopterus roseus – its scientific name – upsets an ecosystem already weakened by the excessive salinization of the atypical territory.

Scarcity of shrimp and fish

Already on the front line when it came to alerting the Government to this problem which has a lasting effect on the production of rice (the Camargue is the only place of production in France), sand wine, the exploitation of salt , bull breeding and market gardening, Gard senator Laurent Burgoa has stepped up to the plate and justifies human intervention to regulate flamingo populations: “ For several years, due to global warming, the vast majority of flamingos no longer migrate to Africa and have settled permanently in the Petite Camargue. These birds feed on insects, fish, aquatic plants and crustaceans. No worries about insects because we have enough mosquitoes to feed everyone but they colonize the rice fields and devastate them, and professional fishermen have noticed a scarcity of fish and shrimp. This can not go on. »

Operation “Pink Floyd”: five hundred specimens to start

After the rabbits, the hunter Laurent Burgoa tackles the pink flamingos. DR

For the elected representative of the Republic, who is also a highly skilled hunter, in a territory whose economy is on the upswing, sending them with a scopette to those of the birds takes on its full meaning. He also intends to participate in the first mass slaughter session scheduled for April 10 at the Scamandre nature reserve: “ Attempts to scare shots did nothing. The flamingos quickly got used to the noise and they ended up coming back immediately. It is expected to draw five hundred this time and another five hundred at the end of April. To ensure the effectiveness of the maneuver – we called the operation “Pink Floyd” -, in addition to the hunters of the Gard Federation, we asked for the help of the licensees of the ball-trap clubs of the region. They will be responsible for pulling the specimens that have managed to fly a little too high.As far as I’m concerned, I’ll just have to buy a few cartridges because if I shoot them with the boar bullets I usually use, there won’t be much left! »

warns the disciple of Nimrod.

Valued in restaurants and school canteens

And it would indeed be a pity if there wasn’t much left of it because with this operation the Department intends to kill two shots with one… bullet. Indeed, there is no question of sending the carcasses for rendering: the flamingo carcasses will be recovered and used as food after processing. Two-starred chef, Jérôme Nutile from Nîmes, who fell in love with this bird’s meat, is also planning to bring an old recipe up to date and put it on the menu of his restaurant.

Jerome Nutile is happy to revisit a flamingo recipe Photo DR I have already tasted flamingo during a trip to Senegal. It is a very tender meat but not very strong in taste. There, they season it with bird peppers and macerate it for a long time in a marinade before grilling it. In the first century, the Romans cooked it boiled with spices and wine. I’m going to revisit the Flamaïou in my own way, a recipe given to me by my friend Robert (**), an old poacher from Saint-Gilles. Anxious not to reveal his recipe, the chef also plans to make a charcuterie terrine: “A bit like lark pâté (***) but with the difference that there will be at least 50% flamingo meat

“, laughs the culinary artist.

But as the restaurants of the Gard will not be able to transform all the carcasses on their own, most of the stock will be offered free of charge to the canteens of the schools in the department and to retirement homes.

The Anti-Bullfighting Alliance takes the bit to the tooth It is an understatement to say that this decision to shoot down flamingos did not make everyone happy. An ardent defender of the animal cause and president of the Anti-bullfighting Alliance, the Nîmoise Claire Starozinski asserted her “ disgust “before this decision”iniquitous” rightly recalling that “the pink flamingo benefits from total protection on French territory since the ministerial decree of April 17, 1981 relating to birds protected throughout the territory.

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Claire Starozinski, President of the Anticorrida Alliance (DR) For her, in this spat about the birds, it would have been more judicious to propose to animal parks to welcome the supernumerary flamingos or to organize their repatriation in Africa rather than to have recourse to this radical solution that she readily equates toa real genocide of which the Gardois should be ashamed”

. To date, it does not rule out bringing an action before the executive agencies of the European Commission in Brussels to derail the “Pink Floyd” operation. It could not be more appropriate because as everyone knows Brussels is in Belgium, a country which until now has always refused to regulate its population of Flemings.

Philippe GAVILLET de PENEY *

Contrary to a stubborn idea “floyd” does not mean “flamingo” in English. It is translated as flamingo and the name of the pop music group is a tribute to two American bluesmen from Georgia, Pink Anderson and Floyd Council.

** The first name has been changed.*** The pâté d’alouette is a fictional pâté composed essentially of a lark and a horse. This dish is often cited to highlight a disproportion or a significant imbalance and to misrepresent a product by highlighting a minor characteristic (the lark) of it while obscuring or minimizing its main nature (the horse)

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