Facts

Bird Poop:The Quirky way of Minting Money

In a world where people are scrambling to make money by hook or by crook, a country which came up with a genius plan to do this years ago was Peru.

A tiny western country in South America, Peru began filling its coffers by selling Guano. Guano is the poop (read: excreta) from seabirds, bats, and seals. An excellent source of potash and nitrogen, its popularity as a natural fertilizer spread like wildfire.

Via Source: Garden Jardinitis

Its discovery in 1802 on Chincha islands off Peruvian coast brought agriculturalists around the globe at the doorstep of Peru. Guano also saw its use in manufacturing explosive devices. It was a product so close to the hearts of the early inhabitants (Incas) of the region, that anyone seen killing the birds was awarded a death penalty.

Via Source: National Audubon Society

The Guano mania

Apart from Peru, many Caribbean nations also produced Guano around that time. However, the quality that came from Peru was unparalleled. In the late 1800s, most of the country’s GDP came from the sale of Guano, touted as “a gold mine” by many.

This mania snowballed mainly because it was an era of agriculture. With the boost of agricultural production owing to Guano, America increased its import, despite booming prices.

Seeking opportunity in monopolizing the product, Peru raised the prices. Irked by this, USA Congress passed the Guano Islands Act, 1856 to annex any Guano deposits discovered by them.

The state of affairs today

Even today, hundreds of laborers engage tirelessly to collect these pungent droppings into sacks, without any protective gear.

Via Source: TotallyCoolPix

The country refrains from capital-intensive techniques to pick the droppings, lest they disturb the birds. Illegal trade and bird-hunting have taken a toll on the bird population of Peru, where birds are dwindling in large numbers. Apart from anthropological factors, the bird population is also affected by climate change.

Via Source: Games 2018

Although many natural fertilizers dominate the world market today, the Guano remains expensive due to its extraction cost, owing to its labor-intensive techniques.

Sustainability of Guano is one of the main cause of concerns in the present era, where ecological conservation is put on the back burner for material gains. With over-exploitation, the world could lose these birds soon.

Let us hope that the world will act before it’s too late to revive the magnificent creature.

Read Also: Strange! American cities named ‘Madras’, ‘Delhi’, and ‘Bombay’.

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Nishtha Chhabra

Avid reader. Inverterate Desi. Liberal thinker. Love capturing people's emotions on camera. Indulge in baking occasionally. Ever-ready with my traveling bag.

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