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Hunting System of the Rukai Tribe in Taiwan, Republic of China

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Hunting System of the Rukai Tribe in Taiwan, Republic of China

Abstract

The hunting system of the Rukai tribe in southern Taiwan was studied from January 1996 to January 1997. Based on interviews with tribal members, three characteristics in their hunting system were identified that may contribute to its sustainability in the present day: (1) they hunted only in winter months and mainly on hoofed animals, which with higher reproductive performance, allowed the game species to withstand prolonged hunting pressure without significant declining; (2) the scattered distribution of their hunting territories not only disperses their hunting activity, but also makes areas outside of the hunting territories function as wildlife protective areas; (3) the limited number of users for each hunting territory reduces the possibility of over-hunting.
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Hunting System of the Rukai Tribe in
Taiwan, Republic of China
Kurtis Pei
Institute of Wildlife Conservation, National Pingtung University of Science
and Technology, Neipu, Pingtung, Taiwan 91207, R.O.C.
Tel: 886-8-774-0285; Fax: 886-8-774-0284;
E-mail: kcjpei@mail.npust.edu.tw
ABSTRACT
The hunting system of the Rukai tribe in southern Taiwan was studied
from January 1996 to January 1997. Based on interviews with tribal
members, three characteristics in their hunting system were identified
that may contribute to its sustainability in the present day: (1) they
hunted only in winter months and mainly on hoofed animals, which with
higher reproductive performance, allowed the game species to withstand
prolonged hunting pressure without significant declining; (2) the
scattered distribution of their hunting territories not only disperses their
hunting activity, but also makes areas outside of the hunting territories
function as wildlife protective areas; (3) the limited number of users for
each hunting territory reduces the possibility of over-hunting.
INTRODUCTION
Taiwan, a mountainous island located south-east off the coast of the
mainland China, is 36,000 km2 in size. Currently, close to 60% of its
land is covered by forests. Most of the mountain areas in Taiwan have
been conventionally hunted by various Aboriginal tribes since at least one
to two thousand years ago. As a result, the cultures of Aboriginal tribes
in Taiwan are all closely related to hunting activities (Huon, 1995). The
hunting systems or traditions of some, if not all, tribes seem sustainable
in the modern concept since, in spite of such a long hunting history, most
of these mountain areas are still rich in many kinds of natural and wildlife
resources (Wang et al. 1989; Lee et al. 1988; Lin 1989; Alexander and
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Lin, 1990; Wang and Sun, 1990; Chou, 1991, 1993).
In southern Taiwan, the area between Tsu-uin Mountain and the
Northern Ta-wu Mountain have been hunted continuously by the Rukai
tribe for more than one thousand years, to the present day (Fig. 1). The
Republic of China (R.O.C.) Gavernment has created 3 different, but
adjacent, protected areas in this region, namely the Tsu-uin Mountain
Nature Reserve, Twin-ghost-lake Nature Reserve and the Ta-wu
Mountain Nature Reserve, for the preservation of their natural
appearance and the existing diverse flora and fauna (Fig. 1). According
to recent surveys, this area is not only rich in wildlife resources in
general, but also is one of the few locations in Taiwan where the
Formosan black bear (Ursus thibetanus formosanus ) and the Formosan
sambar deer (Cervus unicolor swinhoei) are still commonly seen (Wang
and Sun, 1990; Wang, 1994; pers. obs.), and maybe the last place in
Taiwan where the Formosan clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa
brachyurus) still exists (Rabinowitz, 1988). In Taiwan, the black bear
and clouded leopard are endangered species, while the sambar deer is a
threatened species (The Council of Agriculture, 1994). It is possible that
the clouded leopard is already extinct in Taiwan (Pei et al., 1988), but
this is not certain.
Although the commercial game market has existed since Dutch
times (A.D. 1624~1662 ), and has grown as Taiwan prosperity grew,
hunting by Rukai hunters was primarily for the sustenance needs of tribal
members and for ceremonial purposes only. This has been changed
during the past 15 years in that a significant proportion (> 80%) of wild
animals hunted from this area, mainly the Formosan Reeves‘ muntjac
(Muntiacus reevesi micrurus), Formosan serow (Capricornis crispus
swinhoei) and the wild boar (Sus scrofa ), are sold to the game meat
market to fulfill the demand of the Han Chinese who live in lowlands
(Wang and Lin, 1987; Wang and In, 1990; Lin, 1992). It was estimated
that as many as 986 muntjacs, 604 serows, and 506 wild boars were
taken annually from the Wutai District alone (Pei and Luo, 1996).
According to a most active local hunter, this kind of hunting
intensity has been maintained for at least 15 to 20 years due to the
strong demand of the lowland markets (D. C. Luo, pers. comm.). The
numbers of animals harvested, however, have not declined from earlier
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estimations (Nowell, 1990; Lin, 1992; D. C. Luo, pers. comm.).
Therefore, the hunting system of the Rukai tribe seems to possess
certain mechanisms which have allow them to hunt continuously without
depleting the regional populations of their major game species, even
though most of the animals taken were sold to the game meat market in
the lowland areas.
Recognizing that under current R.O.C. law the hunting of all wild
game, except within designated areas and with permit, is forbidden (The
Council of Agriculture, 1994), it became desireable to determine whether
traditional hunting practices could be integrated with effective wildlife
conservation programes and so brought under governmental control and
guidance. The present study was therefore aimed to understand the
hunting system used by the Rukai tribe and the mechanism of its
sustainability, and the result will help to develop a cooperative wildlife
management framework for the future management of Rukai‘s hunting
activity.
STUDY AREA
The present study was conducted in Wutai District (Fig. 2),
Pingtung County, which is the largest of the three existing communities
of the Rukai tribe in Taiwan. The total area of the Wutai District is
around 28,000 ha., in which 80% is National Forest and 20% is the
Aboriginal Reserve (Table 1; Fig. 2). Forests and agricultural lands
comprise more than 85% of the total Aboriginal Reserve land in the
District (Table 1). The National Forest is under the management of the
Forest Bureau, Provincial Government of Taiwan. The forests within the
Aboriginal Reserve are mostly inaccessible and, hence, can not be used.
In general, the Wutai District is characterized by mountains and steep
slopes, and its elevation ranges from 300 to 2,500 m with an average of
1,000 m. Annual precipitation in this area is about 2,572 mm with the
most of the rain (2,435 mm; = 95%) occurring during the rainy season
from May to October. The annual average of the temperature is 17.8
with the highest (= 22.1 ) occurring in July and lowest (= 11.6 ) ℃℃
occurring in January.
The Tai-22 is the only road that connects Wutai District with nearby
Han Chinese communities today (Fig. 2). This road, constructed in 1942
4
by the Japanese government in Taiwan for the purpose of a better
control of the local Aborigine community, created at the same time a new
and more significant channel for cultural exchanges between the
Rukainese and other cultures. The road was abandoned and left
un-maintained after the Second World War, reducing its use. In 1972,
the Government of the Republic of China re-constructed the Tai-22, and
vehicles were used the first time as the major transportation for the local
Rukai community. Because of this late development of the
transportation system in the Wutai District, the Rukainese living in this
area have had relatively less change in their cultures and traditions than
other Aborigine communities in Taiwan (Cheng, 1968).
THE RUKAI COMMUNITY
The social system of the Rukai tribe is hierarchical. Three
hierarchical levels, namely the Prime Chief, the Secondary Chiefs, and
the civilians, are recognized in each community, and the status of the
Prime and Secondary Chiefs are inherited (Shiu, 1986).
Present registered residents of the Wutai District are 2,839 people
(1,616 males and 1,223 females) belonging to 685 families. Except very
few Han Chinese (= 76), all the residents of the Wutai District are
Rukainese. Most of the registered residents either live in adjacent Han
Chinese cities or work in places far away, with fewer than 1,200 staying
in the district constantly.
Currently, they form 6 villages, namely Wutai, Ali, Chiamu, Tawu,
Chunu, and Houcha, distributed in the Aboriginal Reserve (Fig. 2).
According to the incomplete statistics provided by the District Office, the
majority (= 51%) of the tribal members received only elementary or
lower level of education (Table 2), and their occupations were primarily
as laborers (= 54%) and farmers (= 27%). The education or occupation
status of this Rukai community is not different from the most of other
Aboriginal communities in Taiwan.
In Rukai, as to other Aboriginal tribes in Taiwan, hunting is
important to a man. Most Rukai hunters have their own hunting
territory (see later for the formation of a hunting territory), and each
hunts exclusively within his area. A good hunter, especially a good wild
boar hunter, will not only be respected by other tribal members, but he
5
can also attain an honorable and authoritative position in the community.
A civilian whom has been recognized as a good hunter, has the special
privilege of decorating himself as a Chief during ceremonies (Shih, 1989).
This is an old tradition, still followed strictly by the tribal members at the
present time.
Today, three types of the Rukai hunters can be distinguished based
on their efforts in hunting (Pei and Luo, 1996). Type I hunters hunt
regularly with proficient hunting skills. They usually set 150-200 snare
traps, which are organized into 2 to 4 trap lines, during each hunting
season, and check them regularly. Therefore, these hunters can bring in
their catch fresh, so that they can be sold to the lowland market.
Type II hunters also hunt regularly but do not hunt as intensively
as type I hunters. They usually set 70~80 snare traps. Because of the
high jelly-fig or awkeotsang plant (Ficus pumila L. var. awkeotsang)
productivity within the area, they spent roughly the same amount of time
in collecting jelly-fig fruit as in hunting. Jelly-fig plant is a creeper that
grows on tall trees and produces fruits in the winter time. It is a very
popular food in Han Chinese society and has a higher market value than
wild animals (Shih, 1989; Lin, 1992). Therefore, the hunting effort and
number of animals trapped during one winter season for the type II
hunters were negatively correlated with the quantity of jelly-fig fruit
growth in the area. Animals hunted by type II hunter were also
commonly sold to lowland markets in fresh condition.
Unlike type I and type II hunters, type III hunters spent most of
their time in collecting jelly-fig fruit when they worked in the field,
because the jelly-fig fruit productivity in their hunting territories is much
higher in terms of both quantity and quality than that of the other two
types of hunters. The number of traps they set vary greatly among
individual hunters and between different years, but generally range from
50 to 150 traps. Furthermore, because it was necessary for type III
hunters to stay in the field for a much longer period of time in order to
collect enough jelly-fig fruits, wild animals they trapped could not be kept
fresh for the lowland market and, therefore, were consumed mostly by
themselves or shared with other tribal members.
THE HUNTING SYSTEM OF THE RUKAI TRIBE
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I. Study Methods
From November 1995 to April 1996, intensive surveys of the
villages of the Wutai District were conducted. A total of 27 tribal
hunters and 9 chiefs and elder tribal members were interviewed and a
series of questions concerning Rukai‘s hunting system, traditions and
present hunting activities were asked. Usually more than one interview
was necessary for one interviewee to complete the required information.
The reliability of answers was routinely checked either during consequent
interviews of the same hunter or with other hunters. Furthermore,
whenever it was possible, young Rukai members who can speak Chinese
were invited to join the interview as interpreters. This was important,
especially for the elders, in order to eliminate the communication
difficulties due to language or the strangeness of the interviewer.
In addition to the interviews conducted during this study, some of
the hunting traditions of the Rukai tribe mentioned in this paper were
compiled from existing literature (i.e., Shih, 1989; Huon, 1995).
II. The hunting system
The right to hunt
Traditionally, Rukai Chiefs owned all the lands and rivers, and all
the resources within the territory of each community, while the civilians
could use the lands and rivers for harvesting or production with the
permission of the Chiefs. Each civilian hunter must present the best
parts, such as the leg, heart, and liver, of the animals he hunted to the
Chiefs after every successful hunting trip as the rent for hunting in the
Chiefs’ land (Shih, 1989).
Rukai hunters conventionally went to hunt singly or in small groups.
The particular area where a hunter or a group of hunters constantly went
would then be recognized by other tribal members as the hunting
territory which could be used exclusively by him or them. Natural
geographical features such as rivers and mountain ridges were frequently
used as boundaries of a hunting territory. Since hunting has been
practiced by the Rukainese in the study area for more than one thousand
years, all areas which are accessible and rich in wildlife in the region
have all been included in hunting territories.
Currently there are 21 hunting territories scattered in the National
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Forest area of the Wutai District (Fig. 3). These hunting territories were
used by a total of 40 hunters from 4 villages. Among these 40 hunters,
8 were type I hunters, 15 were type II and 17 were type III hunters. The
total acreage of these 21 territories is about 5,100 ha., which is about
20% of the total area of the Wutai District. The average acreage of a
hunting territory is 243 ha. Hunters from the other 2 villages (i.e.,
Chunu and Houcha) have their hunting territories outside of the District
boundary.
Each of the National Forest hunting territories was used by 1~3
hunters only (Fig. 3). The right of use of the hunting territory could be
transferred to their descendants. If there is no direct descendant willing
to hunt or good in hunting, the hunting-right might be transferred to
close relatives, but never another family (Shih, 1989). Rukai hunters
with inherited right of use of a certain hunting territory will hunt in that
particular area only. Those hunters who do not have such a heritage,
however, can still hunt in a certain hunting territory with the permission
of the hunting-right holder. All civilian hunters, including hunting-right
holders and non-hunting-right holders, are obliged to present rents to
the Chief of their community.
According to the Rukai‘s oral history, the Wutai community
originally migrated from the area around the Small and Large Ghost
Lakes (T. Du, pers. com.). To hunt or visit in the areas around these
two lakes, therefore, are prohibited according to the Rukainese traditions
to prevent the disturbance of their ancestors (Huong, 1995).
Additionally, because of the area covered by traps involves only a portion
of a hunting territory, there will be always part of the area within the
territory left hunting-free in any one year. Trap lines will be shifted to
other locations only when the trapping result from the previous year
declines significantly.
Hunting season
Hunting season starts in October, which is right after the main
farming season, and continues until March, before the other farming
season starts. Hunting is done in the winter times not only because it is
the season not suitable for farming, but also because animals trapped
can remain fresh longer in the dry and cold weather. Type I hunters
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visited their traps almost every week during this period and stayed in the
field for 2~3 days each time. The number of traps they set (i.e.,
150~200) is about the highest that a person can check within such a
short time. Type II hunters visited their hunting territory every 10~14
days and stayed for 2~10 days each time, depending both on the
number of animals trapped and the work load for jelly-fig fruit collection.
Type III hunters usually stayed in their field as long as 1 month every
time they went, and the interval between two trips for them ranged from
several days to a couple of weeks depending on the productivity of the
jelly-fig fruit in the field.
Hunting taboos and disciplines
Rukai hunters also are taught to follow various taboos and
disciplines in order to assure their harvesting, as in most other
Aborigines. For example, to share animals with other tribal members
and to hunt only of muntjac size (ca. 10~16 kg) or larger are considered
to be the fundamental duties of a hunter. Hunters with such virtues will
always be blessed. Other important hunting taboos and disciplines
include bird divination, bad physiological signs, and the prohibitation of
hunting clouded leopard.
Bird divination is practiced by hunters on their way to the hunting
territory. Rukai hunters will concentrate in listening and watching for
“masiang” birds they might come across, by which they can fortell the
fortune of that hunting trip. A group of “masiang” birds moving from
the right-side to the left-side of the trail in front of the hunter indicates
bad luck, hence a stop sign, to the hunter. However, if a hunter saw the
same kind of birds moving from the left-side to the right-side, it indicates
a successful hunt.
According to the hunters‘ description, “masiang” birds consist of a
number of species in the Timalinae Family. They are most likely the
Alcippe morrisonia, A. brunnea, Liocichla steerii, Yuhina brunneiceps, and
Y. zantholeuca, which are all small-sized thrushes. These species are
commonly found in forest habitat throughout Taiwan from low to
medium-high elevations (ca. 0 to 2,500 m). They are very noisy while
moving and form large foraging groups in the winter time. However,
direction of the bird flock movements is not predictable.
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As for the physical signs, although making flatulence or sneezing is
not necessarily a indication of any physiological incapacity for hunting,
these are considered by Rukai hunters as bad signs. A hunter should
not go hunting if either of these sounds is made before departure.
The clouded leopard, which is one of the highest consumer in the
food-chain of Taiwan‘s fauna, is respected by Rukainese for, according to
their oral history, it accompanied and led their ancestors to where they
are right now. It is believed by the Rukainese that killing clouded
leopard will bring disasters not only to the hunter himself but also to
other tribal members, therefore, the killing of clouded leopard is
forbidden.
Although most of these taboos and disciplines are not followed
strictly by Rukai hunters anymore, they still believe that these traditions,
especially the bird divination, are useful and important guidelines for
their hunting activities.
Current status
As mentioned earlier, the Rukai tribe living in the Wutai District
historically had rather limited cultural exchanges with the Han Chinese.
Unlike other Aboriginal tribes in Taiwan, they still maintain many
traditions. Interviews with active Rukai hunters revealed that they still
keep the system of having individual or hunter-limited hunting territories,
although the ownership of the Chiefs over all the natural resources and
the virtue of sharing are no longer the rule in the community. As before,
they hunt only in the winter time. Areas surrounding the Large and
Small Ghost Lakes are still maintained free of hunting activities. Rukai
hunters still depend largely on the shifting of the locations of the
trapping lines within their hunting territories from time to time to ensure
a sustained catch. Also, despite the fact that some small-sized species,
such as the Swinhoe’s pheasant (Lophura swinhoei), Taiwan hill partridge
(Arborphila crudigularis), pangolins (Manis pentadactyla) and the Taiwan
gem-faced civets (Paguma larvata taivana), are favored in the lowland
game meat market (Wang and Lin, 1987; Wang and In, 1990), it is still
not a custom for a Rukai hunter to trap such smaller animals.
III. Possible mechanism for the sustainability of hunting
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Several characteristics in the hunting system of the Rukainese
appear to contribute to its sustainability:
1 The species they hunt customarily, namely muntjac, serow and wild
boar, are all hoofed animals with relatively high reproductive rates, and
therefore able to withstand prolonged moderate hunting pressure without
local population decline. In addition, since hunting is confined to the
winter months, these game spcies are not disturbed for breeding during
the Spring-Summer seasons.
2 The scattered distribution of the hunting territories (Fig. 3), each
surrounded by unhunted lands, with the heavy-hunted areas spread
evenly throughout the whole area, makes areas outside of the hunting
territories function as wildlife protective areas or refuges, especially
areas the surrounding the two Ghost Lakes, where hunting pressure is
low or absent. This kind of spatial arrangement is very similar to the
‘sink effect’ described by Stearman & Redford (1995) and the ‘spatial
harvest control model’ suggested by McCullough (1996) as a strategy for
sustainable hunting management. In such cases, when there is a
balance between areas of heavier and lighter hunting presure, the
continual flow of animals from less-hunted areas dispersing into
heavy-hunted areas as a result of differences in game population density,
it is possible to maintain stable game populations and stable harvesting.
In the Wutai District, the 20% coverage of the total area as hunting
territories is appears to be adequate for a sustainable game harvest at
present rates.
3 The limited number of users and hence the total hunting effort, for
each hunting territory under the Rukai tradition also reduces the
possibility of over-hunting in any location. The hunting effort can be
carried out by any hunter will be limited by the time available for
traveling, checking traps and handling animals, and his own physical
ability to carry animals out of the hunting area. Currently, 150 to 200 is
the maximum number of traps one Rukai hunter will set, and this is
probably the maximum number one hunter can set and handle efficiently
in that environment.
Lastly, although it is not important anymore, some taboos and
disciplines of Rukai hunters, such as bird divination and bad physiological
signs, might have provided additional, through not central, control
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mechanisms to their hunting activities in the past.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
This research was supported by the Sino-Germany Social Economic
Fundation with funds provided by the Council of Agriculture of the
Republic of China (project no.: 85ScTe-1.20-F-9 and 86ScTe-1.19-B-4-1).
The author specifically thanks Miss. F. M. Luo and Mr. D. C. Luo for their
help in collecting valuable information, and also thanks Dr. Paul Müller
and Dr. Richard D. Taber for providing helpful comments and suggestions
on this study.
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14
Table 1. Land use types in the Wutai District
Land Use Types Area (hectares) Percentage
Aboriginal Preserve 5,576.0 20.00
Agriculture 1,159.6 4.16
Housing 16.1 0.06
Forest 3,770.2 13.52
Others 630.1 2.26
National Forest 22,025.0 80.00
Total 27,880.0 100.00
15
Table 2. Education levels of the Wutai District residents
older than 15 years old
Education Levels No. of residents Percentage
Illiterate
114 4.6
Elementary School 1,146 46.4
Junior High School 453 18.3
High School 665 26.9
Junior College 77 3.1
College 16 0.7
Total 2,471 100.0
16
Large Ghost Lake
(2,400 m)
Small Ghost Lake
(2,200 m)
Tsu-uin Mt.
(2,700 m)
Wutai District
Tai-22
Northern Ta-wu Mt. (3,100 m)
N
TAIWAN
Tsu-uin Mt.
N
ature Reserve
Twin-
host-lake
N
ature Reserve
Ta-wu Mt.
N
ature Reserve
Figure 1. The geographic distribution of the Rukai Tribe in Taiwan and
the location of the Wutai District.
17
Large Ghost Lake
Small Ghost
Ai-liau River
N
orthern Ta-wu
Wang-ba-bian-pu Mt.
Ta-pu Mt.
J-ben-ju Mt.
Jin
-
jie Mt
Wu-tou
Iau-bi
Ta-
N
Abori
g
inal Reserve
Chiamu
Tawu
Ali
Wutai Chunu
National Forest
Houcha
0 8642
Wutai District
Figure 2. Map of the Wutai District.
18
Small Ghost
N
orthern Ta-wu
Wang-ba-bian-pu Mt.
Ta-pu Mt.
J-ben-ju Mt.
Jin-jie Mt.
Iau-bi
Ta-22
N
Chiamu
Tawu
Ali
Wutai Chunu
Houcha
0 8642
Wu-tou
Tawu
Wutai
Chiamu
Ali
1
1
11
1
1
2
2
2
2
2
1
3
3
3
3
3
3
3
1
1
Large Ghost Lake
Figure 3. The distribution of hunting territories within the Wutai District.
Number of share users is shown for each hunting territory.
... Perhaps the most suitable reintroduction site is the Tawushan Nature Reserve of southern Taiwan, which was believed to have harbored the last clouded leopards on Taiwan (Chiang et al. 2014). Beyond the ecosystem services potentially provided by their return (Ripple et al. 2014;Sarasola et al. 2016), clouded leopards are culturally significant to the Paiwan and Rukai nations of southern Taiwan given their status as a sacred species with ties to tribal origins (Pei 1999). Although their return to indigenous lands may be perceived as a significant cultural event, it may also be controversial given the potential for perceived conflict with a reintroduced carnivore. ...
... In this way, it differs from prior and other ongoing conversations about potential clouded leopard reintroduction, which have not been inclusive of critical cultural considerations, diverse local perspectives, or indigenous autonomy and livelihoods. Clouded leopards are a charismatic species; they serve as a sacred symbol to Paiwan and Rukai indigenous nations and are part of the natural heritage (Pei 1999). These factors may help garner support for clouded leopard conservation measures (Reading and Clark 1996;Ma et al. 2016). ...
... The Rukai consider the direct hunting of clouded leopards to be taboo due to their status in Rukai mythology and origin story. Clouded leopards are said to have accompanied Rukai ancestors to their homelands and killing them is believed to bring disaster to the hunter and their fellow tribesmen (Pei 1999). Paiwan hunters may consider it a privilege to have clouded leopards back after so many years and are unlikely to intentionally poach clouded leopards if they returned. ...
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The Indochinese clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa) was recently declared extinct in Taiwan but is a potential candidate for reintroduction. We assessed the level of public support for reintroduction and the value of clouded leopards to Taiwanese residents via their willingness-to-pay (WTP) among indigenous and urban communities for a potential reintroduction to the Tawushan Nature Reserve. We also investigated sociodemographic factors related to such support or lack thereof. Questionnaires were completed by 263 rural indigenous residents and 500 urban residents across three metropolitan areas. We found 48%, 31%, and 21% of rural respondents supported, were neutral toward, or opposed a reintroduction, respectively, whereas for urban respondents these percentages were 71%, 22%, and 7% respectively. Rural and urban residents were >3 and >7 times more likely to pay to support a reintroduction than those willing to pay to prevent it, respectively, and the hypothetical donations of urban and rural supporters totaled 11.1 and 21.3 times more than opposition WTP totals. More positive attitudes towards clouded leopards were positively related to respondent support and greater WTP for reintroduction. Clouded leopard reintroduction is generally supported by the Taiwanese public, but rural support could change post-release given the large percentage of neutral respondents. We recommend indigenous involvement in any reintroduction effort and an educational campaign to increase awareness among Taiwanese residents about clouded leopards and their potential reintroduction.
... The only extant felid native to Taiwan is the considerably smaller leopard cat (Prionailurus bengalensis), the distribution of which is far removed from our rural and urban sampling areas (Chen, Liang, Kuo, & Pei, 2016). However, rural indigenous respondents were much more likely than urbanites to know that clouded leopards were extinct in Taiwan, which may partially be a result of the sacred status awarded to clouded leopards by Rukai and Paiwan communities (Pei, 1999). The Rukai origin story is tied to the clouded leopard and hunting them is taboo (Pei, 1999). ...
... However, rural indigenous respondents were much more likely than urbanites to know that clouded leopards were extinct in Taiwan, which may partially be a result of the sacred status awarded to clouded leopards by Rukai and Paiwan communities (Pei, 1999). The Rukai origin story is tied to the clouded leopard and hunting them is taboo (Pei, 1999). Clouded leopard paintings and sculptures are displayed throughout indigenous villages and high- ranking chiefs still possess family heirlooms that are comprised of clouded leopard teeth, skins, and skulls that demonstrate their status (authors, personal observation). ...
... Urbanite attitudes were more positive and less neutral than rural resident attitudes toward clouded leopards, consistent with our prediction and other carnivore studies (Williams et al., 2002). Rural respondents were more concerned about the impacts of clouded leopards on hunting, which is not surprising given the cultural importance of hunting (Pei, 1999). Ruralites were also less convinced that the return of clouded leopards would foster tourism growth, which may be warranted given the elusive nature of this species (Brodie & Giordano, 2012). ...
Article
Social acceptance is crucial to reintroduction projects involving large felids, yet few studies have assessed public attitudes toward reintroduction candidates prior to release. To assess attitudes toward clouded leopards, a reintroduction candidate in Taiwan, we conducted interviews with 263 rural indigenous locals in southern Taiwan and distributed an internet questionnaire to 500 Taiwanese urbanites. Rural and urban attitudes were 67% and 76% positive toward clouded leopards, respectively. Higher knowledge about clouded leopards, male respondents, and younger-aged respondents were positively correlated with rural attitudes toward clouded leopards. Comparably, an increase in knowledge, male respondents, and those with more household children were positively associated with urban attitudes. Additionally, 67% of rural and 71% of urban respondents exhibited positive attitudes toward clouded leopard competitors and prey in Taiwan, respectively. Our findings suggest that clouded leopard reintroduction may already be well-supported among members of Taiwanese indigenous nations and more broadly by the general public.
... Likewise, certain species may have higher value in certain cultural roles or through ecotourism than as harvested game. However, sustainable harvesting of wild game for local use (not usually as a commercial enterprise) has been practiced historically around the globe, and under certain circumstances it can be highly sustainable (e.g., Berkes 1999;Pei 1999; see textbox below). Partnerships among local communities, scientists who can provide larger scale information, and government organizations can produce effective management schemes (e.g., Lewis 1995). ...
... Either formal or informal regulation of natural resource use is required for such use to be sustainable. In many cases, existing social contracts at the local level (such as those described in the Madagascar textbox above;Ostrom 1990;Berkes 1999;Pei 1999) have functioned well for managing communal lands or other common resources. But even in these cases, the "tyranny of small decisions" can still be important (Odum 1982). ...
... The subalpine grassland above, dominated by the unpalatable Yushania niitakayamensis is not used for the grazing of domesticated herbivores or managed in any other way. Populations of native grazing and browsing animals are low at high altitude (Yen et al., 2014; Chiang et al., 2015), and hunting pressure from aboriginal peoples in believed to be unchanged over recent decades (Pei, 1999). Forest fires, whilst representing a potential threat to the species (Chou & Chen, 2006), are not recorded as having occurred in our research area in the last century (Council of Agriculture, Taiwan 2013), and cores collected at tree line sites show no evidence of recent fire (S. ...
... The subalpine grassland above, dominated by the unpalatable Yushania niitakayamensis is not used for the grazing of domesticated herbivores or managed in any other way. Populations of native grazing and browsing animals are low at high altitude (Yen et al., 2014; Chiang et al., 2015), and hunting pressure from aboriginal peoples in believed to be unchanged over recent decades (Pei, 1999). Forest fires, whilst representing a potential threat to the species (Chou & Chen, 2006), are not recorded as having occurred in our research area in the last century (Council of Agriculture, Taiwan 2013), and cores collected at tree line sites show no evidence of recent fire (S. ...
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Climate change is causing shifts in the range of species worldwide. In high-altitude areas forests are often observed to be shifting their upper limits to higher altitudes in response to warming temperatures. Although this phenomenon is well described, the possible consequences of this for the wider forest community have not been fully considered. In this study, we used epiphytic macro-lichens to investigate the impacts of tree line advance on associated organisms. We hypothesized that the rate of forest advance should influence the species richness and composition of associated communities.
... 93 Today, the black bear is endangered, the sambar deer threatened. 94 The muntjac is "highly exploited" according to the IUCN Red List. 95 Mining, tourism, and Buddhist bird releases also have an impact on animal populations. ...
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The hunter's gift is a common motif in stories by indigenous writers from Taiwan. I interpret the hunter's gift as symbolic, both of a way of life in which gift exchange predominates and also of a mentality in which the fruits of the forest are regarded as gifts, not as raw materials to be extracted and sold. Yet the hunter's gift in Taiwanese indigenous stories is always in danger of being sold, so that a story about a hunter's gift can be read as a meditation on the indigenous encounter with capitalist modernity. The article begins by drawing on Marcel Mauss's monograph on the gift and Marx's writings on alienation to develop a model of social transformation from gift society to commodity society. I propose 'ecorealism' as a genre of fiction in which an omniscient third person narrator places individual action not just in social but also in ecological context. Then I interpret three stories by Taiwan indigenous writers as works of ecorealism. These three stories, Auvini Kadresengan's "Home to Return to," Topas Tamapima's "The Last Hunter," and Badai's "Ginger Road" are, on first reading, nostalgic and tragic. I argue they are also critical of the impact of capitalism on community and ecology and hopeful that the gift economy might complement the commodity economy in interpersonal and ecological interchange. The indigenous hunter has been seen as a threat to wild animal populations, but the cultural tradition he represents might guide our responses to environmental problems, a possibility I consider in an afterword on the sustainability of the bushmeat trade.
... Either formal or informal regulation of natural resource use is required for such use to be sustainable. In many cases, existing social contracts at the local level (such as those described in the Madagascar textbox above; Ostrom 1990; Berkes 1999; Pei 1999) have functioned well for managing communal lands or other common resources. But even in these cases, the " tyranny of small decisions " can still be important (Odum 1982). ...
... The treeline and grassland beyond have low grazing pressure from native mammals, with no domesticated livestock grazing in the area. Hunting pressure from aboriginal peoples is low and is not believed to have changed over recent decades (Pei, 1999 and references contained within). Furthermore, unpublished dendroecological work by the authors shows no evidence of widespread fire or changes in fire frequency in the area and the forests are not used for fuel wood extraction. ...
Article
Altitudinal treelines are typically temperature limited such that increasing temperatures linked to global climate change are causing upslope shifts of treelines worldwide. While such elevational increases are readily predicted based on shifting isotherms, at the regional level the realised response is often much more complex, with topography and local environmental conditions playing an important modifying role. Here, we used repeated aerial photographs in combination with forest inventory data to investigate changes in treeline position in the Central Mountain Range of Taiwan over the last 60 years. A highly spatially variable upslope advance of treeline was identified in which topography is a major driver of both treeline form and advance. The changes in treeline position that we observed occurred alongside substantial increases in forest density, and lead to a large increase in overall forest area. These changes will have a significant impact on carbon stocking in the high altitude zone, while the concomitant decrease in alpine grassland area is likely to have negative implications for alpine species. The complex and spatially variable changes that we report highlight the necessity for considering local factors such as topography when attempting to predict species distributional responses to warming climate.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
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According to Karen Thornber in her monograph Ecoambiguity, the Taiwan indigenous writer Topas Tamapima’s last hunter character indulges in “sport hunting” (Thornber 2012: 133). The last hunter Biyari is reluctant to change his “lifestyle” (134). He “believes he should be able to use landscapes to fulfil his personal desires, even when this means hunting the forest’s most endangered animals” (135). Thornber writes as if Biyari is a selfish consumer who chooses the most pleasurable lifestyle in willful ignorance of the environmental cost. In this article, I put indigenous hunters like Biyari into cultural context and appreciate what they have to offer to an environmental ethic. Where Thornber does not find “significantly different perceptions of ideal relationships with the nonhuman” (135) in Topas Tamapima’s “The Last Hunter,” I see in indigenous hunting stories survivals of a “gift culture” that speaks to issues of sustainability and community. I interpret “the hunter’s gift” in three stories—Auvini Kadresengan’s “Eternal Ka-balhivane” (Home to Return to), Topas Tamapima’s “The Last Hunter,” and Badai’s “Ginger Road”—as a symbol of ecological and social integration, which can be understood in contrast to appropriation as well as alienation.
Chapter
Around the world, especially since the passage of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in 2007, indigenous people have hoped that advances in legal rights can help them gain recognition for their ecological knowledge and autonomy in the use of natural resources.
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When the Yuquí Indians of Bolivia adopted a settled life-style in the 1960s, wild animals continued to be their main source of meat. As a result, game species declined in numbers around their settlement and their problems were exacerbated by colonists seeking new lands to farm. Prospects brightened in 1992 when 115,000 ha of land were designated Yuquí Indigenous Territory. This paper describes how a system of satellite camps was developed to enable the Yuquí to exploit game animals sustainably and to defend their land from encroachment.
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There has never been a thorough survey of Taiwan's clouded leopard population, and some believe it may no longer survive there. The author conducted a preliminary survey in 1986 and discovered that the last reported sighting of the species was in 1983.
Article
Harvest theory is examined with reference to spatially-structured population systems. Harvest from continuously-distributed populations, which usually are based on regulation of size of kill (numerical control), can be achieved by spatial controls through a mosaic of hunted and unhunted areas. Spatial controls can achieve high yields and avoid the hazards of overharvest that are common with harvest quotas without detailed population data (requiring only an estimate or index of harvest). Harvesting of metapopulations is examined and found to hold little prospect because of negative effects on dispersal required for recolonization of patches following local extinction.
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Although concern for biodiversity and its conservation originated in the biological sciences, with growing international interest an increasing number of interest groups are claiming standing in discussions of the best ways to conserve biodiversity. One of these groups, formed by various indigenous peoples and their advocates, has repeatedly defended its claim to standing by stating that indigenous peoples are well equipped to conserve biodiversity. These claims have had far-reaching consequences, as millions of hectares of Amazonian forest have been deeded to indigenous groups, at least partially on the reasoning that such actions would conserve biodiversity. In this paper, we bring to the attention of the community of conservation biologists a group representing 229 native Amazonian groups comprising 1.2 million people in Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Brazil, and Colombia. In a document entitled “To the Community of Concerned Environmentalists,” this group of indigenous peoples proposes a broad template for cooperation between conservation biologists and the indigenous peoples of the Amazon Basin. Following reiteration of the statement, we discuss the fact that these two groups define biodiversity and its conservation in different ways, with indigenous peoples focusing more on preservation of general habitat characteristics and exclusion of extensive habitat alteration. We conclude that the interests of conservation biologists may not be completely compatible with the agenda of indigenous peoples and their advocates but that by cooperating valuable time is being bought by both sides.
A report on the survey of mammals in the Tung-pu region in the Yushan national Park Yushan National Park Res. Serials No. 1025
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A study of hunting problems in Wutai District of Pingtung County in Taiwan
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The status and distribution of the black bear on Taiwan Asiatic black bear population & habitat viability assessment report
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Wang, Y. 1994. The status and distribution of the black bear on Taiwan. Page 27, in " Asiatic black bear population & habitat viability assessment report ", Y. Wang, S.-W. Chu, and U. S. Seal (eds.).
Fauna survey of the Sha-Ka-Don River region in the Taroko National park
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Preliminary fauna survey for the Wu-tao Mountain Natural Reserve
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Funna survey for the Large Ghost Lake
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