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Respecting the hunting culture of indigenous people Moving towards a new era of self-management of resources

201611/29
In order to both respect the hunting traditions of Taiwan’s indigenous people and conserve wildlife resources, the Forestry Bureau commissioned National Ping Tung University of Technology and National Dong Hwa University to try out a hunting management plan involving the Thao tribe of Chiayi. Through patrolling and interviewing, an annual limit on the wild animals that can be harvested and monitoring model and standards have been set, to move towards self-management of indigenous hunting with the perquisite of sustainability. It is expected that the list of protected species will be revised in 2017 and the conservation classification of some wild mammals then changed.

The Forestry Bureau emphasizes that traditional indigenous hunting heritage is an important part of Taiwan's cultural diversity and should be properly protected just like biodiversity. In October, 2006, Chiayi Forest District Office established the first indigenous natural resources joint management committee with the Thao tribe of Alishan Township. This was followed by the establishing of joint-management consultation platforms by different forest district offices and Taitung County’s Dulan, Duli, and Haiduan villages, the villages along Provincial Highway 24 in Pingtung County, and Hualing Village in Fuxing Township, Taoyuan County. On August 19, 2015 the Bureau promulgated the Guidelines for Establishing Resource Joint Management Committees in Indigenous Areas in State-owned Forests Managed by the Forestry Bureau, Council of Agriculture, Executive Yuan. This provides a basis for each forest district office to promote the establishment of joint-management consulting platforms. Through various channels, the traditional wisdom of indigenous people can be borrowed and various pieces of advice and suggestions with regards issues such as forest natural resource conservation, eco-tourism and local area development may be received, so as to build a partnership based on coexistence. Up to the present time, 10 such platforms have been established. 

The Forestry Bureau's Chiayi Forest District Office commissioned Prof. Pei Jia-chyi of National Dong Hwa University and Associate Professor Weng Guo-jing of National Ping Tung University of Science and Technology to implement the Alishan Township, Chiayi County Thao Traditional Cultural and Ceremonial Hunting Management and Guidance Plan. The plan includes estimating the species of wild animal hunted by the Thao and their requirements in terms of number, providing guidance so that that hunting applications are made in accordance with the Wildlife Conservation Act and related regulations, and monitoring wildlife resources to ascertain if they can be sustainably used. Through patrolling, interviews with village elders and hunters and taking into account the animal species used in rituals, the number of hunted species required annually has been ascertained; village conventions have been signed to establish self-management and after-the-fact reporting used for back-end monitoring and checking. This plan will be implemented until May 2017. It is hoped, after the pilot plan is completed, to cooperate with the Council of Indigenous Peoples, Executive Yuan and promote traditional hunting self-management model examples in villages with complete organization, building a practical operating model that takes into account both wild animal conservation and the hunting traditions of indigenous people. Over time, the intention is to involve more villages in the self-management plan to enter a win-win new era of cultural diversity and biodiversity.
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