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According to documents left by the Spanish missionary Bartolomé de las Casas, to kill a quetzal was a capital offense: ”In the province of Verapaz they punish by death they who killed the bird with the rich plumes because it was not found in other places and these feathers were of great value because they used them as money.” Laguna in Sololá province, a town perched above the sacred waters of Lake Atitlán.

of Central America, have ever seen the emerald serpent bird.

Her ancestry includes both Mayan and Spanish elements. From an early age she has pursued an avid interest in studying nature and bush medicine; we share an interest in studying the quetzal in its natural habitat.

The reason is simple: The cloud forest habitats of the quetzal only remain in the most remote and inaccessible regions where the weather is unusually inclement. Also, the bird has become increasingly rare and surreptitious due to human depredation. This is in sharp contrast to the way it was before the conquest. According to documents left by the Spanish missionary Bartolomé de las Casas, to kill a quetzal was a capital offense: “In the province of Verapaz they punish

A CAPITAL OFFENSE

A

lthough ornithologists have hailed the quetzal as the most spectacular bird in the Americas, few people, outside of the natives who live in the highland forests

18 » revuemag.com

Revue 2010-11  

We feel privileged and excited to be bringing you this special edition. For the past 30 years Thor Janson has dedicated his abilities, talen...

Revue 2010-11  

We feel privileged and excited to be bringing you this special edition. For the past 30 years Thor Janson has dedicated his abilities, talen...

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