NVizcaya DENR blames ant egg gatherers for wild fires
by Ben Moses Ebreo
Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya (February 24) -- The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has blamed ant egg gatherers and hunters as responsible for the series of wild fires that destroyed several mountains here.
Robert Apigo, provincial environment and natural resources officer (PENRO) said ant or 'Abuos' egg gatherers were indiscriminately throwing their burning materials or cigarettes during their hunting activities.
Ant egg hunting requires gatherers to use burning poles to rid the nest of ants on top of trees before collecting their eggs inside the nest.
"During gathering, their materials are usually left burning and this will ignite dry grasses specially now that the dry spell is occurring. This is also attested by Ambaguio town mayor Moises Amokla," Apigo said.
He said that while the trade cannot be stopped because of its economic benefits among the villagers, there is a need to teach ant egg hunters, usually children and adults the proper disposal of their materials.
From January to June each year, ant egg gatherers scour the mountains in search for their prey. Ant eggs sell like hotcakes in the public markets because of its high protein value.
A cup full of ant egg is sold at P50.00 and the price becomes higher as the supply is slowly vanishing before the end of June each year.
Ant eggs are usually cooked with soup, steamed or slightly fried and served as aphrodisiacs ?pulutan' during drinking sessions or a simple meal for villagers. (PIA NVizcaya) [top]