Preservation Play: Children Give Up Catapults In Arunachal Pradesh
Anoko Mega, Sanctuary’s Mud On Boots Project Leader in Arunachal Pradesh, is encouraging school children of Roing to voluntarily surrender their catapults, used to hunt small birds, in a bid to alter attitudes towards hunting within his community.
Photo: Anoko Mega.
Hunting indigenous birds using catapults is a common livelihood as well as a recreational activity amongst the people of Roing, the District Headquarter of Lower Dibang Valley. This valley is home to a diverse range of wildlife, such as the vulnerable eastern hoolock gibbon, musk deer, Himalayan serow, Rufous-necked hornbill and the elusive king cobra. With such species of high conservation concern, community awareness and support for conservation is crucial.
Although changing the age-old tradition of hunting is a monumental challenge, Anoko is slowly but steadily chipping away at it. Anoko conducts regular awareness campaigns for school children and villagers, in order to help them realise the importance of their natural heritage. His most recent campaign dealt with the use of catapults, and the damage caused by indulging in the play. While 10 to 15 catapults were retrieved from the locals, it was heartening to see the children of the valley come forward and voluntarily surrender their catapults. Delighted and empowered by the success of the campaign, Anoko intends to continue this drive in Roing.