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August 30, 2010

"Massacre of the Mushroom Hunters"

Here's a weirdly tragic mash-up resulting from climate change, the financial crisis and food. Above average temperatures and violent weather in the Italian alps has led to a bumper crop of highly sought-after and very valuable mushrooms.

As a result, Italy's recession-battered mushroom hunters are in a frenzy and have thrown caution to the winds, or rather themselves onto the precipitous slopes of mushroom-growing mountainsides (via Reuters):
At least 18 mushroom-lovers have been killed in accidents while hunting for their favorite fungi in the mountains and forests of northern Italy.

Mountain rescuers say eager mushroom seekers are abandoning safety procedures as they don camouflage and hunt in darkness to protect coveted troves, la Repubblica newspaper reported on Sunday.

"There is too much carelessness. Too many people don't give a darn about the right rules and unfortunately this is the result," Gino Comelli, head of the Alpine rescue service in northwest Italy's Valle di Fassa, told the newspaper.

Seventeen people have died in nine days -- six in 48 hours alone -- mostly from sliding off steep, damp slopes in the northern mountains, la Repubblica said in a story headlined "the massacre of the mushroom hunters."

Not much more to add to that, I don't think. Except, hey, mushroom hunters, calmate voi!

Photo credit: It's Greg

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