Lizard meat, considered one of the healthiest, is a delicacy that has reached several restaurants and a chain of supermarkets in Bolivia, which benefits indigenous populations of the country who are committed to its sustainable use.
The indigenous Tacana Indians living in communities of northern La Paz, part of the Bolivian Amazon, were grouped in the Matusha Aidha Association, a great lizard in their language, with the aim of being trained in the responsible management of the lizard as part of the program National Sustainable Exploitation promoted by the Bolivian Government.
Thus, at least forty families from the Cachichira, San Antonio del Tequeje, Carmen del Emero and Copacabana communities decided to learn the management plan with the technical assistance of the Society for the Conservation of Wildlife (WCS, in its acronym in English ).
In the same plan some analyzes were also carried out to know the benefits of the consumption of this meat, in which they found that it is rich in protein, phosphorus and that it has practically no fat, reason why it is considered one of the healthiest meats for its consumption, told Efe the technician of the WCS, Gustavo Álvarez.
The lizard meat of these communities has all the hygiene and handling certifications, unlike that from illegal hunting.
The Indians began to market this meat a couple of years ago to renowned Bolivian restaurants such as Gustu, promoted by the prestigious Danish chef Claus Meyer, and the Jardines de Asia, among others in La Paz, Álvarez said.
"We are happy to know that our product is consumed in restaurants such as Gustu, who has been the first to trust," said the representative of the Indigenous Council of the Tacana People, Constantino Nay.
This month for the first time this meat was sold in a chain of supermarkets in the country, with the help of the General Directorate of Biodiversity and Protected Areas of the Ministry of the Environment of Bolivia, which meant for the Tacana an aid to its economy.
About fifty kilos of cuts of half a kilo of lizard meat arrived at supermarkets in La Paz and Cochabamba, Álvarez said.
This meat can be roasted, fried, grilled, and even served in some restaurants raw or as if it were ceviche, an acidic marinade, to diners who want to try this alternative.
Now look for other international markets that are interested in this meat and at the same time value the commitment of these native communities with the sustainable use of the lizard.
"This management plan has helped us to know the size of the animal that can be hunted, the importance of whether it is female and male, the data record and the season that we can carry out the hunt so as not to affect these populations," Nay explained. .
The plan has been in place since 2007, but studies were previously conducted on the populations and distribution of the lizard in that region so that the indigenous people can take advantage of a small percentage.
The program involves mostly women and every year the families involved rotate so that the benefit reaches the entire community, remarked his representative.
For his part, Álvarez added that they have an annual quota to hunt 630 specimens and train them to take advantage of the leather and meat of the lizard in a sustainable manner.
"Before there was a lot of illegal hunting, but with this plan, the communities themselves take care of their resources in their territory and do not allow third parties to take advantage," he concluded.