By Satem Longchar
The most awaited season of the year for all is here. It should also be remembered that Christmas and New Year season is a time many Nagas across the state begin hunting for wild animals. Gunshots ring across the forested landscape of Nagaland. The scar of this abominable human activity runs deeply across the forest, resulting in what we call an empty forest. Hunting has increased manifold through the years. With the advent of modernization, there is access to automatic rifles, telescopic sights and sophisticated traps facilitating easier games.
Demands of wildlife meat especially in urban areas as exotic dish are on the rise. Exploitation of wildlife is not an old issue; study shows this activity has increased tremendously over the years globally. If we take a look into the trends of our society, we have been taking the consumption of wildlife in an approach that can be best termed as apathetic, lackadaisical and ignorant. The ridiculous and absurd belief of consuming wildlife for certain unnatural medicinal values is accepted naively by what we call the “educated society”. It is a daunting task for wildlife enthusiasts and researchers to convince the society with scientific reasoning and explanation.
For instance, Hoolock gibbon (Hoolock Hoolock), the only gibbon in Indian subcontinent, has a limited habitat distribution and found only in the northeast. There are two subspecies, the eastern Hoolock in Arunachal Pradesh and the western Hoolock found in four Northeastern states and Nagaland is one of them. There has been a drastic decline in the population of Hoolock in Nagaland.
This is a direct consequence of anthropogenic pressure such as habitat destructions/fragmentations and most importantly, usage of the animal’s body parts as medicinal values. There are many instances of ‘exterministic extinction’ of many species in Nagaland. We are all to blame for the inexorable situation.
Conservation is at risk while being the need of the hour. It becomes more challenging and riskier every passing day. The odds become greater and the stakes become higher with each passive moment. And in today’s scenario, conservation and preservation effort cannot be executed without the help of all. Neil Diamond, a renowned conservationist, in 1989 quoted “the evil quartet” which explains the four hindrances in conservation- the overkill, the habitat fragmentation and destruction, species introduction and chain of extinctions that will follow. Overkilling of wildlife without sustainable usage or conserving for the future, is a common practice. Our society no longer follows certain ethics of hunting practiced in the days of gone by. The honourable and the traditional ways of hunting practices have diminished over time. The unsustainable practice of hunting is still at large. We hunt animal without any thought in a particular area, leaving a huge deficit difference with the available density of mammals in respect to hunting. This action must be controlled for sustainability in the landscape.
Bushmeat is widely in demand for consumption, zoo-therapy and for its exotic taste. More....