Saturday, 23 February 2008

Mouling reprise!

This trip to Upper Siang district was really a continuum to the last trip, it ended with a surprise macaque barbeque last time and millet beer, this time to continue with other species-barbeque and other local drinks. This time I approached Ramsing village from the Upper Siang district headquarter Yingkiong accompanied with an MSc junior Robin. So after two days travel we reach Yingkiong and cross the Siang River by a bamboo raft, some pics...

The first picture is of Robin taking pictures of sandbars and the second one is a picture of sandbar with my poorly pixeled camera! The raft was in(de)geniously made with Bambusa gigantica. Although water is welcome from the front it leaves from the back of the raft which has gaps in the bamboo. I was slightly paranoid with my camera, laptop, lens, binoculars and books on board. But we reached, we had to cross only about 40 m but with the Siang, alias Tsangpo in Tibet; a river with a characteristic of rapids, it took about 20 minutes.
So there we were back in slightly familiar terrain. The evening was spent with watcher, Abot who cooked a decent meal which was followed with a decent sleep of 7 hours. The next morning started with a view of snow capped mountains north-east of Ramsing village, perhaps Dibang valley.

The plan of the day was to walk towards an Indian river; the Siring river which originates from Mouling National park. We (me & Robin) did some good birding and reached a 75-100 m waterfall...

The walk was mostly aside rocks and ravines and we spotted about 30 bird species, most of which I had not seen before. The evening was spent at the village homes, one of them being the leader who was just about to prepare his dinner. This is the chief who has been elected to be so by the entire village. He definitely has the panache and the know-how from what I gauge of the last time I met him, here he is, the majestic chief Solung Apang.

The last time I met him I was overwhelmed with the roasting of a rhesus macaque and this time three different species of mammals; one of them probably a parti-coloured flying squirrel (the right most), two hoary-bellied Himalayan squirrels (top and centre) and large species of rodents yet to be identified. It almost feels like I am naming a basketball team or a press meet in order. So the chief first made small-mammal-stew breaking the legs of each of these guys and putting them in the pot and the guys were lined up on top later to be roasted.

Then, I took picture of his catches over the last few decades, hold your breath...

Of the ones I could recognise, there’s wild boar, serow, muntjac, rhesus macaque, langur, Asiatic black bear and god knows what not. I felt a bit giddy and lost as to where does all this stop or whether it does. Whether to raise awareness in city for people to use less electricity, recycle stuff, promote locally-made products OR to tell these communities to spare the rare species, the Serow, Black bear, Clouded leopards, etc. I was a bit lost; perhaps man is just as invasive a species as the IUCN’s list of worlds 200 most invasive species, the list doesn’t feature the one species genius enough to ensure extinction of everything else along with it! Tell me what you think. I am all for the chief except his taste of food!

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