Science: Guano Sanctuary

It started even before the Incas. Ever since, Peruvians have cherished the 40 million sea birds whose droppings make high-grade fertilizer (guano) for Peruvian farmers. In Inca days, the penalty for molesting the birds was death. Now the protection of the guano birds (cormorants, boobies and pelicans) is the care of the semi-official Compaia Administradora del Guano, set up in 1909 to develop the country's evil-smelling guano deposits.

The Guano Co.'s armed guards patrol the small islands off Peru, where most of the birds live, protecting them against human egg robbers as well as against their natural enemies: vultures and condors....

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