David Coveney

Donkeys and Condors

Condors are scavengers – that means they only eat meat of animals that have died and died recently…. Now, in the Colca Valley the condor watching is a huge draw, although in reality the spectacular scenery should be enough for most.

So, to keep the tourists coming and to keep them happy it helps if as many condors are flying in the appropriate places. And usually wildlife isn’t nearly so helpful. Well I’ve learned that the locals have a system to keep the condors interested. They buy a donkey every few days, for just 30 soles (about five pounds) and then chuck it over the edge of the canyon, near the usual condor watching areas. This regular supply of meat keeps the condors happy, and the condors keep the tourists happy. Suddenly I don’t feel quite as priviledged to have watched these majestic birds… but I can understand the thinking of the locals too.

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