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Spider Collector In A Web Of Trouble

Spider Collector In A Web Of Trouble

Main picture: Santa Rosa Press Democrat/ZUMA

With great passion comes great trouble: This could be the lesson learnt by a spider-and-bug-lover in northeastern France after he was suspected of trafficking the creepy crawlies.

Investigators were puzzled by how the fifty-something man could afford his many trips to Guyana, Brazil and Madagascar despite living off state benefits, so they searched his home and found some 140 live tarantulas and close to 3,000 dead ones. Not to mention the scores of scorpions and dozens of dead butterflies, as well as other insects, French newspaper Le Républicain Lorrain reported.

European Wolf Spider or False Tarantula — Photo: VW Pics/ZUMA

According to Le Figaro, the live tarantulas could fetch up to 2,000 euros ($2,800) apiece, while the dead arachnids are estimated at 1,000 euros each. The man, however, denies accusations of trafficking, saying that he only exchanged some of his insects with other collectors and sold others in order to pay for his travels. Investigators will now check if any of the specimens he kept are protected or endangered species. He could be fined up to 9,000 euros ($12,500).

Here's a glimpse of his collection, filmed by French public TV channel France 3.

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Indigenous Women Of Ecuador Set Example For Sustainable Agriculture

In southern Ecuador, a women-led agricultural program offers valuable lessons on sustainable farming methods, but also how to end violence.

Photo of women walking in Ecuador

Women walking in Guangaje Ecuador

Camila Albuja

SARAGURO — Here in this corner of southern Ecuador, life seems to be like a mandala — everything is cleverly used in this ancestral system of circular production. But the women of Saraguro had to fight and resist to make their way of life, protecting the local water and the seeds. When weaving, the women share and take care of each other, also weaving a sense of community.

With the wrinkled tips of her fingers, Mercedes Quizhpe, an indigenous woman from the Kichwa Saraguro people, washes one by one the freshly harvested vegetables from her garden. Standing on a small bench, with her hands plunged into the strong torrent of icy water and the bone-chilling early morning breeze, she checks that each one of her vegetables is ready for fair day. Her actions hold a life of historical resistance, one that prioritizes the care of life through the defense of territory and food sovereignty.

Mercedes' way of life is also one that holds many potential lessons for how to do agriculture and tourism better.

In the province of Loja, work begins before sunrise. At 5:00 a.m., the barking of dogs, the guardians of each house, starts. There is that characteristic smell of damp earth from the morning dew. Sheep bah uninterruptedly through the day. With all this life around, the crowing of early-rising roosters doesn't sound so lonely.

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