Chontacuro worms are a staple part of the Amazonian diet. Many indigenous people eat these grubs to increase protein in their diet. Some communities even farm them by cutting chontaduro palm trees and laying them out on the ground to encourage the beetles to lay their eggs in the centre. After two months, the larvae of the beetle will have completely hollowed out the palm tree core and the villagers harvest the grubs for food. The worms can be eaten raw, but most tourists who are adventurous enough to eat them prefer them grilled on bamboo skewers like a kebab. The worm has a rubbery texture like well-cooked squid, and a greasy quality like warm bacon fat, or melted butter. Similar in taste to a shrimp, the grubs are surprisingly pleasant to eat. It’s no wonder that the people on the amazon consider them to be a sustainable source of food. The chontaduro palms are plants as part of their agriculture and the fruit bearing trees supply them food until they are approximately four years old. After this point, the trees have grown too tall for easy harvest and the villagers cut them down to make way for planting new chontaduro trees. The fallen trees are used to raise grubs, giving them another use before they are finally burned for fuel in cooking. Many of the indigenous people in the Ecuadorian Amazon have declined offers from oil companies to purchase the land which would allow them to extract oil. They have turned to ecotourism as a way to survive and make it profitable to preserve the forests which we all rely on. These tours educate the rest of the world on the ways of the Kichwa people and the importance of keeping the Amazon standing.
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