30th Aug 2021 10:08:PM Editorials
Eastern Sentinel Arunachal News

The state has witnessed an outbreak of foot and mouth disease (FMD) since February this year which has killed as many as 808 mithuns across 17 districts.  The disease is endemic to Arunachal and is one of the major menaces to livestock health. The mass death of mithuns is especially concerning given the fact that this bovine is a prized possession and plays a significant role in the lives of the tribal communities.
Arunachal Pradesh accounts for 82 per cent of India’s Bos Frontalis population according to the All India Livestock Census of 2007. Often referred to as ‘the cattle of the mountains’ and ‘ship of the highland’, this bovine has come under serious threat due to many of the socio-cultural rituals and practices. 
The Mithun holds an important place in the indigenous tribal way of life. A symbol of social status; they are part and parcel of indigenous system of marriage. Considered sacred, they are integral to ritualistic sacrifice and ceremonies. Further, this bovine raised on free-range areas are under serious threat as grazing with cattle has increased chances of crossbreeding, leading to a gradual loss of “species uniqueness” and fitness traits.
Coupled with people’s vanity to show off their social clout, Mithuns are sacrificed wantonly. Of late the meat has also found its way to commercial markets which is further aggravating the pressure on these animals.
The Government of India in 2016 had assured all possible help for conservation of mithun species in Northeast. Technology development for scientific rearing of mithuns will not only help in conservation of biodiversity and the rich cultural heritage of the region, but will contribute to the economic development and ecological stability of north-eastern states. 
 The local administration and community based organizations must also work together to check their indiscriminate use in festivals and marriage. Few community based organizations have taken the step in the right direction and others must follow.

Kenter Joya Riba

(Managing Editor)
      She is a graduate in Science with post graduation in Sociology from University of Pune. She has been in the media industry for nearly a decade. Before turning to print business, she has been associated with radio and television.
Email: kenterjoyaz@easternsentinel.in / editoreasternsentinel@gmail.com
Phone: 0360-2212313

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