Deadly appetite: 10 animals we are eating into extinction


From eel and sturgeon to pangolin and turtle, hundreds of species are threatened by human hunger or greed. Here are some of the most at risk

If there is a single dish that has come to symbolise humans’ willingness to eat other animals out of existence, it is the ortolan bunting. Traditionally, you devour this diminutive songbird, prized since Roman times, whole, in one fell bite, your head hidden under a napkin to hide your shame from God (although, drowned in armagnac and deep-fried, this “delicacy” is also just plain messy).

In France, where hunting ortolans has been banned since 1999, 30,000 birds are still trapped every year, according to the RSPB; they are said to fetch up to €150 (£130) apiece. Despite conservation efforts, ortolan numbers dropped by 84% between 1980 and 2012.

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