Normally the term poacher brings out the impression that these are fellows hunting average sized to big game. In normal circumstances, ‘normal’poachers hunt game exclusively benefiting entirely from game meat sale and no other activity. I mean they are more or less specialized to this activity targettting ,mostly herbivores.
In Bunyala, poachers are bird hunters in the contemporary setting. But even these have stemed out from an older generation that hunted normally: I mean mainly specialized herbivore hunters relying almost solely on this activity. But of course these were hunted to none in the region.
When I talk of bird poachers therefore, you are less likely to fear that these guys could be dangerous to people who are nosing into their business but reality of the situation is contrary. Noinetheless they are normal people.
Maimed individuals already lying at his feet, this fellow is contemplating a long shot for disoriented individulas that have wondered far
The young man above is hardly in his thirties and poisons birds almost on a daily basis for sale. Off the poisoning field he is an electronics expert repairing mostly radios. Then again he gets hired to work in the irrigation scheme to chase birds, weed or harvest the rice. But may be he does all these tasks because he has two wives, the first of whom is ailing and bed ridden (I hope it is not a furadan-related illness, God forbid) and a couple of children.
This one is an older poacher in his mid thirties I am told has neither wife nor kids. His speciality is small bird and especially dove and pigeon poisoning rather than stork poisoning. But the guy also gets hired for farming activities in the Bunyala RErice Irrigation Scheme.
This guy is a homeowner in his late thirties; a family man and responsible father in a crude way:as you can see his sons are being drilled to take over and follow in his footsteps.
The band above constitutes agemates in their thirties and to a larger part bachelors. These guys all poison storks and it is their unifying factor. A good number have strange story lines inclusive of one known to have chopped off one local tailor’s arm for failing to finish the poacher’s girlfriend’s outfit on the agreed deadline ; another (the guy in green) is renowned for habitually beating up his father, the mentor that saw him rise to bird poisoning profession.
What is common to all these poachers is that they are known to generously spend their money earned in poisoning business in commodities that can best be described as illicit. After work, they flock in Illicit brew dens to down a few tumblers while Marijuana smoking is a norm of this callibre.
Wether the illicit substances are responsible or the guys are haunted by the mad killing of nature’s beings, generally these guys are feared to be bad tempered. Duels and gang fights are not uncommon amongst themselves over poisoned birds-which group’s bird is it?(if the poisoned bird takes off and falls in no man’s land); who is entitled to more dead birds?-It is real jungle style and some days my assistant and I have to watch from a distance. What is worse is that for some reason, which I suspect is poison availability, most of these guys have become so full of themselves and what used to be a joke, “just photograph what I am doing but time is coming when you will have to pay me” is now a real and altered stern warning that I should “absolutely refrain from taking any photos “.
The smell around these strange guys is typically wild, ortherwise fine by me whose ‘brown collar’ job has taught me to appreciate nature in its various shades. This smell is purpoted to be the effect of the many storks they have eaten which smell the same. But acknowledging the odour is disrupted by their warning breath of scary and menacing stench of terror!
Keep reading friends.