Animals and birds being put up for sale in Shimong village of Upper Siang district Credit: EastMojo image

Itanagar: A video of a ‘merciless and regressive’ hunting practice followed by the Adi community of Arunachal Pradesh is going viral on social media.

In the video, which was apparently shot in the Shimong village of Upper Siang district, onlookers are seen checking out several birds and animals killed by locals as part of the Unying Aran festival.

Unying Aran is basically a hunting festival followed by the Adi tribesmen. It is the first festival of the Adi ‘new year’. During the festival, locals hunt for community feasting and also to sell.

Some of the animals that are seen in the video include rats, civets, mongoose, barking deer, flying squirrels, khaleej pheasants and red pheasants. Incidentally, pheasants and flying squirrels are endangered species, with the latter found only in Andaman & Nicobar and Arunachal Pradesh.

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When questioned about the ‘regressive and merciless’ practice followed in the name of tradition among many communities of Arunachal Pradesh, principal chief conservator of forests (PCCF) Bipin Behari said that people are being educated regularly by creating awareness under different government schemes.

Behari added that in the months of February and March, several wildlife traffickers were arrested from Aalo and Banderdewa. The PCCF further urged the people to come forward to help create awareness and save precious wildlife in the state.

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Unying Aran is one of the oldest festivals of the Adi community commemorating the arrival of spring season. It is traditionally celebrated with ‘Bari’ songs sung by male elders and ‘Yakjong’ dance performed by youths (boys and girls) in villages. Through these performances, they narrate stories of the origin of the festival. Villagers also pray for the well-being of their tribesmen.

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