Staring idly out of the window as we made our way along the winding, dust-covered roads of Nagaland’s picturesque green hills, we were suddenly snapped out of our reverie by the sight of two young boys dangling a collection of squirrels and birds including a slender, black and white badger-like creature. We could buy the whole bunch for just Rs. 800 we were told, and the boys proudly posed for a picture with their wares. The badger and birds were being sold from a makeshift shelter near a bridge close to Chislimi village in Zuneheboto district. Our group was returning to Kohima on the 15th of November, 2014 from the village Sukhai in Zuneheboto district, the ancestral ‘parent’ village of the Sema Naga community where we had gone to prepare a People’s Biodiversity Register.
Throughout our trip, we had been struck by the fact that we had seen more captive and dead wildlife than live ones. We debated the identity of the badger the entire way back, till on leafing through a field guide, we tentatively identified it as a ferret badger, though we could not tell whether it was a small or a large-toothed ferret badger. The other species included a Black-backed forktail (Enicurus immaculatus) and three hoary-bellied squirrels (Callosciurus pygerythrus). This incident cast a pall of gloom on our otherwise wonderful sojourn in the mountains of Nagaland amidst its verdant forests and lively people.
Pia Sethi, Siddharth Edake, Vidhu Kapur, Balwant Singh Negi and Bhopal Singh, TERI, The Energy and Resources Institute
Chosen as 'Picture of the Week'
The rampant and all-year round hunting in Nagaland of almost all life-forms will, in all probability, wipe out wildlife in Nagaland in a few years. An immediate and widespread effort should be launched by the Nagaland government (not just the forest department) to create awareness towards stopping hunting.