|Proud trapper with his quarry.|
"U Chris!" called my friends as I lounged on the bamboo deck writing notes.
I roused myself and grabbed my camera.
A Chin boy had just arrived with his dinner.
A silky-furred buck-toothed pway or lesser bamboo rat (Cannomy badius) dangled from his bamboo garrote trap.
Yes, while you were receiving my California posts during the past three weeks, the codger was spending his days East of Suez, not far from where "the dawn comes up like thunder outer China 'crost the bay".
I was in Myanmar giving a camera trapping training course for Indo-Myanmar Conservation and the Friends of Wildlife, a local grassroots NGO formed by my close friend, UMA. The Denver Zoological Society defrayed my travel costs, because the course was preparation for an elephant survey.
The class of 15 included protected area staff from Rakhine Yoma Elephant Sanctuary, a few local school teachers, and members of the Chin community living in the Rakhine Yoma.
A Chin village in the Rakhine Yoma was our base, and from it we descended daily into a patchwork of deciduous evergreen forest and bamboo brake to check our cameras.
Yoma means mountain range, and the Rakhine (formerly Arakan) Yoma is a coastal range, actually the tail of the Himalayas.
North of here and 70 years ago Japan's Imperial Army routed the 14th Army, and remnants of the war are still to be found.
General William Slim wrote about these hills in his WW II chronicle Defeat into Victory,
"Flying over them you can realize what an obstacle they are to vision, but you cannot really appreciate what an obstacle they are to movement."They are not much of an obstacle to the people who live here, but they travel lightly.
No 65 lb packs, or even water bottles.
Just a dah or long knife.
They know how to tough it.
|The makeup is thanaka -- made from the bark of Murraya exotica.|
And when a hungry boy catches a bamboo rat, he doesn't need mom or dad to skin it or cook it for him.
He does it himself and roasts it to perfection.