Longreads

At National Geographic, Rene Ebersole reports on how hummingbirds (who are in decline due to habitat loss and climate change) are the victims in increasing illegal trade in their tiny, dead, feathered bodies to make Mexican love potions called chuparosas. Birds are captured in nets and even shot with tiny bits of ammunition to fuel the growing demand. Perhaps the biggest problem? Mexico doesn’t think the illegal trade is a threat to the birds.

“This is the honey jar,” she tells viewers while introducing the ingredients on her workbench: photographs of two would-be lovers, a piece of paper with their names written on it three times, a small glass jar—and a dead hummingbird. She rolls the tiny animal inside the photographs and wraps the cigar-shaped bundle with hot-pink yarn nearly the same shade as her long, fake fingernails.

Showing only her arms and lower body on camera…

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