Sunday, February 2, 2014

Andean Goose

Andean Geese are found high in the central Andes. They are found to altitudes exceeding 16,000 feet.  Erika and I photographed these geese at about 15,500 feet. We had just driven across Abra Anticona, at the time (early 1970s) one of the highest paved roads in the world—at 15,889 feet in Peru. 

Andean Geese are common throughout their range. They descend to sea level only rarely, apparently the result of bad weather at high elevations (Birds of the World—Alive). This source writes that, although people hunt this goose for food, the species, because of its inaccessible habitat, is not threatened. 

The species does, however, appear in folk-medicine markets. Extracts of Andean Geese may be a cure of gout (Birds of the World—Alive).  These markets are fascinating. Dead Andean Condors hang in the stalls. Erika and I were informed that these huge birds are in some way used to cure colds. We bought an herbal tea that claimed to cure kidney stones. Back in the USA, we presented it to my stepfather who suffered from these stones. The next time he was attacked, he drank a cup on the way to the hospital. Thirty minutes later, his symptoms vanished. His American doctors were impressed, but I doubt they explored the chemical contents of the tea.

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