In the center of the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico he discovered one of the largest Ancient Mayan Cities ever to have been found. On expedition to Indonesia he re-discovered Amorphophallus titanum, a plant which produces the world's largest flower, and which had not been seen since its original discovery nearly a 100 years earlier.
 He was shot at by the military in Guatemala, and then later the same day ambushed by bandits. Days earlier he saved his drowning friend's life. He rediscovered a long-sought, lost species of Orchid in Brazil, then had it stolen from him by a jealous Orchid collector. Another greedy collector stole some of Birk's plants in the Philippines.
 After a rigorous expedition in Sumatra his friend and traveling companion succumbed and died in Birk's arms. He survived a crash-landing in Malaysia. He was later betrayed by a jealous rival who took his ideas and notes and then ‘discovered’ the rare species of Orchid that Birk had made plans to collect in Borneo.
 Following a lead he searched for, but failed to find, an elusive Orchid on Palawan Island in the Philippines, and nearly died from sickness. He recovered and on the day he left he serendipitously found the new species of Orchid concealed in bushes behind a native hut. He kicked a Krait in Thailand and discovered it was a new species of that deadly snake family. Two days later he was shot at by the Khmer Rouge near Cambodia.  He trekked to the very top of the Peruvian Andes following a lead only to discover that the “new species” wasn’t even an Orchid. He contracted deadly Cholera in Thailand and he fell off a cliff in the Philippines, landing in a river. He fell off another cliff on an island in the Gulf of Siam and landed in a tree.
 In the Gulf of Siam, while encamped on a tiny beach on a small island, he survived the full force of a Typhoon and a week later he escaped certain death when his boat outran a heavily-armed Pirate Ship. In the Straits of Malacca he avoided a similar experience by camouflaging his boat and hiding under an island cliff overhang.
 These often harrowing stories seem more fitting for an action-adventure movie screen, yet they are all actual events that occurred in Birk's search for the real truth about Orchids. In over 25 years of his adventures, these and other stories are detailed in 39 separate chapters of his newest book, THE LAST ORCHID HUNTER.
"If I really thought about all that bad stuff I'd probably never leave home," Birk said, "But there are a lot of questions that still need answers and no one else seems willing to do it. I guess I've just been pretty lucky. Or sometimes...not!"

Copyright Lance A. Birk - 2016

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