Cries of black-monkeys heard no more in Tamei
Source: Hueiyen News Service / Newmai News Network

Imphal, March 18 2013: Black-monkeys have either banished or extinct from their natural habitats in Tamei sub-division of Tamenglong district in Manipur.

These days not a single black monkey has been sighted nor their chattering or howling heard.

However, villagers hope that few of them may still exist in the interior of the woods in the sub-division.

These black-monkeys of Manipur are quite different from that of South America's 'black howler monkey' which is scientifically called Alouatta Caraya.

Not only the black-monkeys but other fascinating wild animals like graceful antelope, elegant barking deer, giant owls, wild boars, stags, wild fowls and many other wild animals are now on the verge of extinction, thanks to excessive hunting and destroying of their habitats.

"We do not hear anymore the howling or chattering of these black-monkeys," said Thiusongbou Pamei, president of Liangmai Art and Culture Association (LACA) .

According to Thiusongbou Pamei, a resident of Tamei, there used to be the presence of the black-monkeys in large number in Tamei area but these days not a single of them has been sighted.

He blamed the excessive hunting by the local people.

Barking deers, antelope, bears and wild boars are also common in all the hill districts of Manipur.

However, the habitats of these animals are being disturbed by rampant logging and jhumming.

Noted environmentalist of Manipur Salam Rajesh opined that this farce situation has been the result of the faulty policy of the government.

Talking to Newmai News Network today, Salam Rajesh who is also a journalist said unless the government deduce a mechanism where the local people of the area are made to involve to preserve and protect the environment, things will not improve.

"Instead of the term, Joint Forest Management, it should be Joint Community Forest Management, where local people could be empowered for protecting the environment," suggested Salam Rajesh, adding, "Locals of the area should be entrusted or given responsibility by the government as part of its policy to preserve our environment" .

He cited the example of Khambi village of Phungyar sub-division in Ukhrul district, where one witnesses a healthy grove of forest.

"This is possible only because the local people's involvement", he noted.

Former President of Chandel Naga People's Organisation (CNPO) Ng Gilbert shares the views of environmentalist Salam Rajesh.

He suggested that the government should evolve a policy where local people of the area are empowered in manning the forest and protect the wild life.

Dr John Pulamte, president of Hmar Inpui, however, maintained, tribal people have no other alternative but to make their livelihood by extracting things from their surroundings.

"These villagers have no resources and no market to buy meat whenever they need it so they have to look to the forest for their need," said Dr John Pulamte.

He then suggested that the government evolves an effective policy to provide alternative to the villagers so that they can stop jhumming and hunting.

"We can go and preach in the villages about the negative impact of hunting or jhumming but if we failed to provide an alternative means for their sustenance, nothing worth can be done," stated Dr John Pulamte.

Former advisor of North East Students Organisation (NESO) Artax Shimray said today the environment is greatly affected in a negative way due to non-abiding of the traditional norms partly and also partly due to ineffective government policy.

"Earlier, Tangkhul Naga Long (TNL) laid a norm where no hunting was allowed during the mating season of animals so that the tradition of hunting can be carried on but today no one bothers to follow this norm," lamented Artax Shimray, a noted activist based in Ukhrul district.

He pointed out, "The Supreme Court has banned hunting but the Manipur government allows the rampant logging and this in turn badly affected the habitats of animals" .

He also blames excessive use of chemicals such as insecticides in fishing which has destroyed the environment.

President of All Tribal Students Union, Manipur (ATSUM) Muan Tmbing has this to say, "Villagers should have the responsibility to carry on for at least 15 years of jhumming in a particular place before shifting to elsewhere and I think this can also preserve the forest and animals' habitats" .

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