Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Itanagar meet and buy wild meat market

This I had to post sometime, it’s been on the back of my mind. About 2 km from the Forest Department office in the State capital Itanagar is the meat market where I have had more sightings of mammals than in my field site. Here I saw my first ever Binturong. The other species I have come across; giant squirrels, giant flying squirrels, crestless porcupine, macaque (either Assamese or Rhesus, can’t make out from the lump of meat), muntjacs, civets and once even a wreathed hornbill.

Some may call it hunting for subsistence, who has the right to stop them from hunting in their own community-forests, don’t they have the right to eat meat, etc. But damn it, I think the rarer species have to be just not hunted; binturongs, hornbills and few other species, I don’t know hunting of which species is justified but definitely here it’s not for subsistence, I think there should be a clear distinction between hunting for the pot and hunting for the money pot. Well, each time I walk out of this market having seen some species being sold like I did today after seeing the crestless porcupine I wonder what ever could be a solution to this. I don’t feel this bad when I see a species being brought back in village I stay in for my field work where certainly not a gram of the meat is sold, its distributed amongst the clan and family members.

I am now thinking hunting has at least three tiers to it. 1) hunting for consumption, 2) hunting for selling the meat like mentioned in the earlier para, 3) hunting for fur /skin/ bone trade. I think the last form of hunting is least justified in comparison to the first. Comments, debates, opinions, anyone?

I managed to take a pic of the porcupine yesterday, but I wonder if anyone could take pics all the time in the market and keep interviewing the people without getting hit. I always leave the meat market quite morose.

PS: The local newspapers covered this issue well and the Forest Department raided the market too. It seems like the issue is being taken up more seriously these days (May 2012).


agent green glass said...

hey karthik
first, thank you. because you made me relive my childhood. i spent most part of my growing up in assam, far flung parts of bengal and two years in shillong. reading your blog made me remember times when things were so simple. and clean air, trees, crisp sunlight, waterfalls were all part of everyday life. now i live in a city, and i miss these places so much. so well, thanks.

second, i think its totally commendable that you are doing what you so obviously love. and writing about it with so much joy. on the debate on hunting, yup it's difficult to say you're totally against it when all you have to do is walk to the closest supermarket and pick up your meat and veges. so hunting for sustenance, i agree with that. but hunting for commercial reasons, that's a problem, specially in our country where laws are so lax and regulations are meant to be broken. it would be fine if it were monitored in such a way that you managed to keep some ecological balance going, unfortunatly that never happens where. and hunting for money, becomes hunting for greed, till you see entire species being wiped out. i used to go to gopalpur on sea. and i've seen baby sharks, hammerheads etc being hauled in, and cut and sold before anyone can even take a picture of them. and the third, hunting for nails, teeth, fur...well, i'd like to get my hands on the folks who do that. makes me mad.

Anonymous said...

Hello. And Bye.

Anonymous said...

Hello. And Bye.

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