The recent announcement by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) that the Dibang Wildlife Sanctuary would soon be notified as a tiger reserve has caused disquiet among the area’s Idu Mishmi people.
About Idu Mishmi Tribe:
- Who are they? The Idu Mishmi is a sub-tribe of the larger Mishmi group (the other two Mishmi groups are Digaru and Miju) in Arunachal Pradesh and neighbouring Tibet.
- They primarily live in Mishmi Hills, bordering Tibet in Arunachal Pradesh.
- Their ancestral homelands are spread over the districts of Dibang Valley and Lower Dibang Valley, as well as parts of Upper Siang and Lohit.
- They are known for their weaving and craftsmanship skills.
- They can be distinctively identified by their typical hairstyle, distinctive customs and artistic pattern embedded on their clothes.
- Population: The tribe is estimated to comprise around 12,000 people (as per the census 2011).
- Language: Their language, called ‘Idu Mishmi’, is considered endangered by UNESCO.
- Relation with nature:
- Traditionally animists, the tribe has strong ties with the region’s rich flora and fauna.
- Tigers are especially important to the Idu Mishmis — according to Idu mythology, they were born to the same mother, and thus, tigers are their “elder brothers”.
- While hunting has traditionally been a way of life, the Idu Mishmis also follow a strict belief system of myths and taboos — ‘iyu-ena’ — that restrict them from hunting many animals, including a complete prohibition on killing tigers.
Q1) What is the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA)?
NTCA is a statutory body under the Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change (MoEFCC).It was established in 2006 under Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972.