Login

A Traditional Hunt

A group of Santhal tribals from the Hooghly district of West Bengal were about to embark on a wild cat hunt. I had long heard of these hunts and was curious to know why they hunted and what their modus operandi was.

On joining them I realised that my mental picture of ‘tribals’ was completely outdated. Yes, they were Santhals, classified as a Scheduled Tribe in India. Yet their attire was no different from most of us. By the time I caught up with them, the group had already identified the burrow of an animal, which was being closely inspected for clues. Three young boys were part of the hunting team, but they said that they were not really there to learn how to hunt, rather they just wanted to experience the thrill of the chase.
Once they established that the burrow was actually occupied by an animal, they began piling up dry leaves and other vegetation on the entrance. The idea was to smoke the animal out into the open and identify other emergency exits. Sure enough, the tell-tale smoke revealed another strategic exit, which was promptly guarded by men armed with sharp sticks.
In addition to sticks, Santhali hunters use unique bows and arrows with the string drawn from bamboo strips, not the intestine of an animal. The arrow tips are crafted from cheap cast iron. The hunt, I noticed, was all about patience. The men had no option but to wait for the animal to emerge. In between, they would thrust a spear deep inside the burrow in all directions and then inspect the metal tip for signs of blood, or fur. To confirm that the burrow was actually occupied, a thin stick was inserted into the hideout and if it moved, the animal was clearly ‘at home’.

In this case the animal refused to be flushed out, so the group began to dig into the burrow, with eyes trained on all possible escape exits. Soon the hapless animal could be seen moving desperately about below the soil, and its head and face were visible. It was a jungle cat Felis chaus! The group made way for their best ‘spear man’ while another wielded an axe as ‘back up’. The cat bit on the metal shaft of the spear in a vain bid to escape. But it had no chance at all. The spear did its job ruthlessly, quickly. And a magnificent creature was lost in the name of tradition and festivity. With the spear still embedded in its belly, swift blows to the head with a bamboo pole were administered ‘to make sure it was dead’.
I had gone willingly to witness the whole process, but was shattered by the casual ease and was left wondering how many such ‘traditional hunts’ across our country continued to take a daily toll on our vanishing wildlife.

What can be done?

I run a wildlife conservation NGO, Simultala Conservationists, which seeks to create awareness on the issue of snake bites, wild animal rescues and to offer education to rural communities on conservation. We also try to engage and dissuade tribal communities from indulging in such hunts.

In 2008, I had confronted a large hunting party of Santhals at the Nalikul Railway Station, in the Hooghly district of West Bengal. Six adult wild jungle cats, three less-than-one-month old jungle cat cubs and one mongoose were confiscated from them. The problem of bush meat collection cannot be curbed, leave alone stopped, by the mere promulgation of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. I took the hunting party to the nearest police station, hoping it might intimidate them, but it had little or no effect. The hunters knew nothing about the Wildlife (Protection) Act, or why a particular species was listed, or why its conservation was important. One Santhali boy asked me what I was doing about wild cats that they saw run over by vehicles each year, probably twice the number the Santhali hunted in the same amount of time. I had no answer.
After seizing their hunting equipment and their day’s trophies, I filed a report with the Forest Department Officer in my area, informing him that an autopsy of all the animals killed would be carried out the next day under the supervision of a Government Veterinary Surgeon. The autopsy performed by Dr. Gautam Kumar Nandy at Nalikul was an education unto itself.
The carcass revealed rodent bones that highlighted the role of wild cats in controlling rodents in and around agricultural fields. I have kept track of such autopsies and found that 85 per cent of the stomach content of wild cats contained rodent bones.

A major problem with the hunting traditions of the Santhali tribes of West Bengal is the fact that their hunts coincide with the breeding season of wild cats. Without let or hindrance, nursing mothers or pregnant females, even kittens, are slaughtered. I guess there is really no way to stop this. At best we can engage them, explain to the younger lot about the true impact of what they are doing, while simultaneously working to ensure that their youth are educated and gainfully employed.

 

The Santhals

One of the largest tribal communities in India, the Santhals are found in several states – Jharkhand, West Bengal, Bihar, Orissa and Assam. Primarily an agricultural tribe, they are also renowned for their hunting skills with the bow and arrow. The annual hunt of the Santhals, particularly in Orissa, on the eve of Baisakhi Purnima, is a well-known affair.

 


About the Author:

Vishal Santra, is a reptile consultant. He is also a Journal Reviewer and researches on wildlife extensively. He is highly renowned and in his profession with several papers published in international journals and several presentation done from his research. He can be reached at vishal.herp9@gmail.com.

 

 

 

 

 

66 responses on "A Traditional Hunt"

  1. I used to be recommended this website via my cousin. I am no longer positive
    whether or not this put up is written by him as nobody else
    realize such particular about my problem. You’re amazing!

    Thanks!

  2. I like reading an article that can make men and women think.
    Also, thanks for permitting me to comment!

  3. Outstanding post however I was wondering if you could
    write a litte more on this subject? I’d be very thankful if you could elaborate a little
    bit further. Thank you!

  4. After I initially left a comment I seem to have clicked the -Notify me when new
    comments are added- checkbox and from now on every time a
    comment is added I get 4 emails with the exact same comment.

    Is there a means you are able to remove me from that service?
    Thanks!

  5. Hello there, You’ve done a fantastic job. I’ll certainly digg it and personally suggest to my friends.
    I am confident they will be benefited from this web site.

  6. Howdy, i read your blog from time to time and
    i own a similar one and i was just wondering if you get a lot of spam remarks?
    If so how do you protect against it, any plugin or anything you can recommend?
    I get so much lately it’s driving me crazy so any help is very
    much appreciated.

  7. of course like your web-site but you have to check the spelling on quite a few of your posts.
    Several of them are rife with spelling problems and I to find it very troublesome to inform
    the reality nevertheless I will definitely come back again.

  8. bookmarked!!, I really like your website!

  9. We are a group of volunteers and starting a
    new scheme in our community. Your site offered us
    with valuable info to work on. You’ve done an impressive job and
    our whole community will be thankful to you.

  10. What’s up i am kavin, its my first time to commenting anywhere, when i read this
    post i thought i could also make comment due to this good piece of writing.

  11. It’s difficult to find knowledgeable people on this subject,
    however, you seem like you know what you’re talking about!
    Thanks

  12. Attractive element of content. I just stumbled
    upon your blog and in accession capital to claim that I acquire in fact enjoyed
    account your blog posts. Anyway I’ll be subscribing in your feeds and even I fulfillment you get admission to constantly rapidly.

  13. Just desire to say your article is as astonishing. The clearness to your
    post is just nice and that i could think you’re knowledgeable
    on this subject. Well together with your permission allow
    me to clutch your RSS feed to stay up to date with
    drawing close post. Thank you 1,000,000 and
    please carry on the gratifying work.

  14. Hey there, I think your blog might be having browser compatibility issues.
    When I look at your website in Firefox, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer,
    it has some overlapping. I just wanted to give you a quick
    heads up! Other then that, amazing blog!

  15. When I originally commented I appear to have clicked the -Notify me
    when new comments are added- checkbox and from now on every time a comment is
    added I recieve 4 emails with the exact same comment. Perhaps there is
    a means you are able to remove me from that service?
    Thank you!

  16. Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems as
    though you relied on the video to make your point. You definitely know
    what youre talking about, why waste your intelligence on just posting videos to
    your weblog when you could be giving us something informative to
    read?

  17. You actually make it seem so easy along with your presentation but I in finding
    this matter to be actually something that I feel I would never
    understand. It kind of feels too complicated and extremely wide for me.
    I’m looking forward for your next post, I’ll attempt to get the cling of it!
    Magliette Bayer Leverkusen Bambino

  18. You should be a part of a contest for one of the highest
    quality sites on the web. I am going to highly recommend
    this site!

  19. I absolutely love your blog and find almost
    all of your post’s to be exactly what I’m looking for. Would you offer guest writers to write content
    for you personally? I wouldn’t mind writing a post or elaborating on a few of the subjects you write about here.
    Again, awesome website!

  20. whoah this weblog is great i love studying your articles. Keep up
    the great work! You know, many persons are searching round for
    this info, you can help them greatly.

  21. It’s an amazing piece of writing in support of all the online people;
    they will get benefit from it I am sure.

  22. wonderful publish, very informative. I’m wondering why the other experts of this
    sector don’t realize this. You should proceed your writing.
    I am sure, you’ve a huge readers’ base already! Maglia Inter

  23. I know this web site provides quality based articles or
    reviews and extra material, is there any other web page which offers these data in quality?
    Liverpool Fodboldtrøjer

  24. Hey would you mind letting me know which hosting company you’re using?
    I’ve loaded your blog in 3 completely different
    internet browsers and I must say this blog loads a lot quicker then most.

    Can you suggest a good web hosting provider at a reasonable price?
    Many thanks, I appreciate it!

  25. Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems as though you relied on the video to make
    your point. You clearly know what youre talking about, why waste your intelligence on just posting videos to your blog when you could be giving us something informative to read?

  26. I enjoy reading through a post that will make men and women think.
    Also, many thanks for allowing me to comment!

  27. It’s nearly impossible to find experienced people for this subject, however,
    you seem like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks

  28. Hello would you mind sharing which blog platform you’re using?
    I’m looking to start my own blog soon but I’m having a difficult time choosing
    between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal. The reason I ask is because your design and style seems different
    then most blogs and I’m looking for something unique. P.S Apologies for
    being off-topic but I had to ask!

  29. whoah this weblog is great i love studying your posts.

    Keep up the good work! You already know, lots of individuals are looking around
    for this info, you could aid them greatly.

  30. Hello I am so glad I found your webpage, I really found you by mistake, while I was looking on Bing for something else, Regardless I am here now and would just like to say kudos for a tremendous post
    and a all round entertaining blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to
    read it all at the minute but I have saved it and also added
    in your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back
    to read a lot more, Please do keep up the excellent
    jo.

  31. Hello, nice work. I really appeaciate the data you are providing through your site, i have alwasy find it helpful. Keep up the amazing work.

  32. Great work! This is the type of info that are meant
    to be shared across the internet. Disgrace on Google for no longer positioning this put up upper!
    Come on over and talk over with my website . Thank you =)

  33. I am in fact thankful to the holder of this web site who has shared this great piece of writing at at
    this place.

  34. Hi, I desire to subscribe for this website to take latest updates,
    thus where can i do it please help.

  35. A fascinating discussion is definitely worth comment.
    There’s no doubt that that you ought to publish more about this issue, it
    may not be a taboo subject but generally people do not speak about these topics.
    To the next! Many thanks!! natalielise pof

  36. I am extremely impressed along with your writing skills as neatly
    as with the format in your blog. Is this a paid topic or did you
    modify it your self? Either way stay up the excellent quality writing, it’s uncommon to peer a
    nice weblog like this one nowadays..

  37. Very quickly this website will be famous among all
    blog people, due to it’s pleasant articles or reviews

  38. Normally I do not learn post on blogs, but I wish to say that this write-up very compelled
    me to try and do it! Your writing taste has been amazed me.
    Thank you, quite great post.

  39. you are actually a just right webmaster. The site loading
    speed is incredible. It seems that you are doing any
    unique trick. Also, The contents are masterwork. you have
    done a wonderful task on this topic! pof natalielise

  40. Thanks , I’ve just been searching for information about this subject for a while and yours is the greatest I have came upon so
    far. However, what concerning the conclusion? Are
    you sure about the source?

  41. Way cool! Some extremely valid points! I appreciate you penning this post plus the rest of the website is
    very good.

  42. Its not my first time to visit this web site, i
    am browsing this web page dailly and get fastidious data from here all the time.

  43. I feel that is one of the so much vital info for me. And i’m happy studying your article.

    But should commentary on few basic things, The website taste is perfect, the articles is in point of fact
    nice : D. Just right process, cheers

  44. Nice replies in return of this difficulty with solid arguments and
    explaining all on the topic of that. plenty of fish natalielise

  45. Magnificent goods from you, man. I’ve understand your stuff previous to and you’re just
    extremely magnificent. I actually like what you have acquired here,
    really like what you are stating and the way in which you say it.

    You make it enjoyable and you still take care of to keep it smart.

    I cant wait to read much more from you. This is really a great site.

  46. Greetings! Very useful advice in this particular article!
    It’s the little changes that produce the largest changes.
    Thanks a lot for sharing! natalielise pof

  47. I truly love your site.. Pleasant colors & theme.

    Did you make this amazing site yourself? Please reply back
    as I’m trying to create my own website and would like to find out where
    you got this from or just what the theme
    is named. Thanks!

  48. My partner and I stumbled over here from a different website and thought I might check things out.
    I like what I see so now i’m following you.
    Look forward to looking over your web page again.

  49. Each types of software have their personal advantages and drawbacks, it’s
    yyour choice too determine which kind of Foreign currency trading software maay benefit yyou most.
    Thus, gemstone buyiny and selling can also be promising in gemstobe forums.
    Butt the methods forecasted from the expets ensure to measure its level by analyzing the on-line conversion rate of sales and
    alzo the increase of visitors in your internet site.

  50. Thanks a lot for sharing this with all people you actually understand
    what you’re talking approximately! Bookmarked. Kindly also
    visit my site =). We could have a hyperlink
    trade arrangement among us

  51. I was recommended this blog via my cousin. I am not certain whether this post is
    written by him as nobody else understand such
    distinctive approximately my problem. You’re wonderful!
    Thank you!

  52. I feel this is among the so much important information for me.
    And i’m satisfied studying your article. However want to observation on some general issues, The web site style is great,
    the articles is truly nice : D. Just right task, cheers

  53. Thanks for every other informative blog. The place else may just I get that type
    of info written in such a perfect way? I’ve a venture that I’m simply now running on,
    and I have been on the look out for such information.

  54. Thanks designed for sharing such a good thought, article is nice, thats
    why i have read it fully

  55. Have you ever considered about including a little bit more than just your articles?
    I mean, what you say is fundamental and everything.
    But just imagine if you added some great photos or videos
    to give your posts more, “pop”! Your content is excellent but
    with images and clips, this website could certainly be one of the most beneficial in its niche.

    Awesome blog!

  56. I don’t know whether it’s just me or if perhaps everybody else encountering problems with your website.
    It seems like some of the written text on your posts are running off the screen. Can someone else please comment and let me know if this is happening
    to them too? This may be a problem with my web browser because I’ve
    had this happen before. Kudos

  57. Amazing blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download
    it from somewhere? A theme like yours with a few simple adjustements would
    really make my blog shine. Please let me know where you got your design. Thanks

  58. If you wish for to take a great deal from this piece of writing then you have to apply such techniques to your won web site.

  59. Hey would you mind letting me know which hosting company you’re
    utilizing? I’ve loaded your blog in 3 completely different web browsers and I must say this blog loads a lot quicker then most.

    Can you suggest a good hosting provider
    at a honest price? Thanks, I appreciate it!

  60. Unquestionably believe that which you said. Your favorite justification seemed to be on the internet the simplest thing to be
    aware of. I say to you, I definitely get annoyed while people consider worries that
    they just don’t know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top and defined out the whole thing without having side-effects , people could take a signal.
    Will probably be back to get more. Thanks

  61. Do you mind if I quote a few of your posts as long as I provide credit and sources back to your weblog?
    My blog is in the very same area of interest as yours and my visitors would really
    benefit from some of the information you provide here.
    Please let me know if this alright with you. Thank you!

  62. Way cool! Some extremely valid points! I appreciate you penning this post plus the rest of
    the site is extremely good.

  63. I am John, how are you everybody? This post posted at this website is in fact nice.

  64. My developer is trying to persuade me to move to .net from PHP.
    I have always disliked the idea because of the expenses.
    But he’s tryiong none the less. I’ve been using WordPress
    on several websites for about a year and am anxious about switching
    to another platform. I have heard fantastic things about
    blogengine.net. Is there a way I can import all my wordpress
    content into it? Any kind of help would be really appreciated!

  65. Thanks for your ideas. One thing I have noticed is banks as well as financial institutions know the spending routines of consumers plus understand that a lot of people max away their own credit cards around the trips. They correctly take advantage of this fact and then start flooding your own inbox as well as snail-mail box by using hundreds of Zero APR credit card offers just after the holiday season concludes. Knowing that if you’re like 98 of American open public, you’ll leap at the possible opportunity to consolidate credit debt and shift balances to 0 APR credit cards.

  66. keep up the superb piece of work, I read few blog posts on this website and I think that your web blog is rattling interesting and holds sets of great information.

Leave a Message

Your email address will not be published.

All Rights Reserved to Extra Period. Powered by 
X