I lived in Madagascar for several years in the late 1980s. They ate locust over there, fried they tasted OK.
A locust is a short-horned grasshopper when it swarms. I always thought a locust swarm was something to fear.
There have been claims that the terrible famine in north west Africa last year could have been prevented if only environmentalists had not prevented aerial spraying with some residual chemicals.
Then this afternoon, after a morning at the beach, I turn on my computer and I have an email from Jim Pashley wishing me a Happy New Year and asking your opinion – as a reader of this blog – on a website run by a group of concerned environmentalists and farmers.
It is all about locusts, but with a twist. The site suggests that contrary to popular perceptions regarding the recent locust plague in New South Wales and Victoria:
For the most part, locusts have ignored irrigated pastures, mature crops and dry feed. The losses that have occurred, contrary to sensational media articles, were largely confined to unseasonal summer green. Spring sown crops are the rarity in this district and are always a gamble, and lucerne (and native pasture) re-growth, brought about by summer rains, is not something that dry-land farmers in our area budget on. From this perspective, the impacts were no more than the other seasonal variations farmers deal with everyyear.
The idea that something as abundant as a species of “plague” locust could become extinct seems impossible; yet this is exactly what has happened to the “plague” locust that used to occur in the USA, and it could also happen here. Already, what was once a one in five year event has been reduced to a one in thirty. The impact of such extinction would be more far-reaching than we realise. Locusts are a natural grazer of our grasslands and a welcome food source to other wildlife. Flocks of over a thousand Ibis, have been observed feasting on un-sprayed bands of locusts. Other native wildlife such as Falcons, Bearded Dragons and Shingle-back Lizards, to name just a few, have all been seen enjoying the feast. The rare Fat-tailed Dunnart has increased its activity since the arrival of the locusts, and even a Bustard (once abundant in Northern Victoria, now virtually extinct), was sighted last summer, in the same season and district that the Locusts swarms occurred. Co-incidence? With wildlife numbers low due to the recent drought: What role might the locust migrations have played in population recovery? And what impact are we having by our interference?
Anyway, they are keen for feedback. The site is here: http://www.savethelocust.com/.