‘Ndrangheta, over 200 frozen dormice for banquet: 3 arrests – Chronicle

‘Ndrangheta, over 200 frozen dormice for banquet: 3 arrests – Chronicle
‘Ndrangheta, over 200 frozen dormice for banquet: 3 arrests – Chronicle

Rome, 16 October 2021 – Over 200 dormice in the freezer, packaged and ready to be sold and consumed, and a marijuana plantation with 730 plants built on communal land. On charges of producing drugs and killing or capturing protected animal species, in Delianuova, in the province of Reggio Calabria, i carabinieri arrested three people.

It was during the searches inside the house of one of the detainees that several specimens of dormice were discovered, considered protected species animals, kept in cages and another huge quantity, about 235, frozen and packaged in over 50 packages, probably intended for sale or consumption. The three were locked up in prison.

For the ‘Ndrangheta a sign of power

Dormouse hunting has distant origins and has in the ‘Ndrangheta culture ancestral meanings. The use of eating it, boiled in sauce or roasted, dates back to the Roman legionaries, who carried containers in which they raised rodents to have food available for times of need. In the province of Reggio, where the carabinieri seized 200 frozen animals, the consumption of the dormouse is a sort of celebration of a symbol of power. Bringing dishes based on dormice to meetings organized to exchange favors means binding others with a pact that is difficult to escape. Several times in the interceptions of the underworld of Locride there is talk of pacifying dinners based on dormice between opposing gangs.

Dormouse hunting is widespread throughout Calabria: in Cosentino on the Ionian side (Rossano), on the Sila plateau (San Giovanni in Fiore) and on the Tyrrhenian side (Orsomarso). In the province of Crotone in the Castelsilano area (Sila Piccola). But it is in the “Serre”, where the provinces of Catanzaro, Vibo Valentia and Reggio Calabria meet, that the most rooted tradition is found, in the territory of Guardavalle, Santa Cristina dello Ionio, Nardodipace, Serra San Bruno, Stilo and Bivongi . The Lav estimates that in the municipality of Guardavalle alone 20,000 animals are captured a year, sold for 5 euros each.

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