MEXICO CITY – Consumption of exotic meats, such as iguana, alligator, lion, deer and wild boar, raised by authorized growers helps minimize the negative impact on the environment caused by raising more conventional livestock and actually helps to preserve those more exotic species in the wild, Mexican biologist Jeronimo Dominguez said Thursday.
Dominguez, the president of the civil association Sustainable Conservation, Handling and Use of Wildlife (COMAFFAS) and manager of various farms in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas, told EFE that “consumption of these products will guarantee that these farms keep growing, which will help conserve the species.”
He also said, however, that the farms must be approved by the country’s Semarnat environmental agency, as they help “safeguard the species’ genome, as well as breed the animals to reintroduce them” into their natural habitat.
“The greater the consumption of meat from animals raised in captivity, the higher the income for (such) farms,” he added. “These farms are committed to conserving the species in the wild.”
Exotic meats tend to have a lesser environmental footprint compared to beef, Dominguez said.
To illustrate, he added that alligators only need two kilos (4.4 lbs) of food per week, well under the requirements of beef cattle, which need large amounts of cleared land planted in grass or grain for their nutritional needs, thus requiring “a modification of the environment and creating a negative impact on wildlife species.”
Exotic meats can be purchased throughout Mexico, including at the capital’s San Juan market.
“(Customers) often order lion or alligator meat,” an employee of El Gran Cazador restaurant told EFE. “Many are astonished at being able to eat alligator.”