“Hello brother! How much these catapult cost?”, I asked a shopkeeper in Suryapura.
Suryapura Vdc lies north east from lumbini with 10 km distant.
“30 for the readymade and 20 for that rubber” he replied with a smile.
I was with camera on my hand, jack wolfskin winter cap on my head and 45+5 litre senterlan bag on my back. I probably looked a little different with my dressup and instruments in the market at 7 in the morning.
“Brother, what is catapult for?”, I asked as if i was unknown about it.
“To kill birds”, he replied with smile again.
“Wow, can you hunt for me? I love birds meat”, I asked.
” I don’t hunt. I just sell these to local villagers. They often hunt egrets, herons, owl”, he replied.
” Oh, owl! Do they hunt larger owl? I would love to see that “, I asked.
“Not so often these days, but they hunt some white large birds at the farm”, he explained.
I took the photograph of catapult while i was throwing questions at him constantly.
“So, Who hunts mostly, childrens or adult?”, I asked.
“Most of them are children, but whenever they see some larger birds or some unfamiliar one they call their guardians and their seniors”, he replied.
” What about you? Do you go out on hunting?”, I asked him very freely as if i was there to cheer him up.
“No, i don’t go out on hunting”, he replied.
“Brother, a catapult in your shop could take lives of hundreds and hundreds of birds. This can be another reason for the extinction of sarus from our backyards”, I added sarus because people’s religious belief and superstitions are connected with sarus.
“No one hunts for sarus”, he replied instantly.
The bus was ready to leave and i had to go soon.
“Brother, it would be great if i do not see these catapult here in your shop in my next visit”.
He didn’t reply and i couldn’t wait for it. Catapult in a shop pushed young kids to hunt. There is not even a chance of learning how to kill birds. It’s about their daily practice as game. Those parents who cook their hunt and cheer their child for bringing meal are also equally responsible. There are two reasons ; Game and Meal. When second one replaces the first one, hunt becomes necessity. It would become more than profession. A 16 year boy in pokharvindi vdc has even mentioned the weight of some hunted farmland birds. That has blown our mind to an extent. As always, there is a high demand of mega campaign through national media; it could be national television which should be more focused on school curriculum about bird conservation.