Mithuns(Bos frontalis) in Arunachal Pradesh


Mithun (Bos frontalis)

Mithun (Bos frontalis)

Endemic to North-East India’s jungles, the mithun (Bos frontalis) is a rare bovine species. The highest population of mithuns is in Arunachal (124,730 in 1998).

The animal is an integral part of the socio-economic and cultural life of the people. The wealth of a person is often gauged by the number of mithuns he possesses. The mithun is regarded as a symbol of prestige and was traditionally used as a medium of exchange, a means to settle disputes, and as the bride price. mithuns determine social status. They also provide calories and protein, and are essential part of community feasts.

Yet, mithuns are reared in a free-range system. The owners leave the mithuns in the jungles to graze on natural fodder and, they are occasionally given a dose of common salt. The mithuns browse over a considerable range in search of fodder and, over two dozen species of trees, shrubs, tall grasses, and bamboos form their diet. To maintain these mithuns, the protection of the pristine forest is required, a task that is becoming increasingly difficult.


Mithun (Bos frontalis)

Mithun (Bos frontalis)


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