Khriengunuo Mepfhuo and K.K. Saharia
Mithun (Bos frontalis) is a prize animal for the people of the North East India in general and the state of Nagaland in particular, where it is the state symbol. Because of being semi wild in nature and in absence of much empirical studies, a benchmark is necessary relating to its husbandry. Therefore, practices, beliefs and knowledge of farmers about mithun was taken up for study in three mithun dominated districts namely, Kohima, Phek and Zunheboto districts with fifty each mithun farmers, all of whom lived in difficult and remote areas. The total sample size of respondents was 150. A comprehensive, reliable and valid interview schedule was applied to collect required information. They were converted to objective data and simple statistical analyses were done to arrive at conclusion. The study revealed that, the loose rearing with fences was adopted and was found provide better growth. Common salt feeding for better meat quality and increasing bondage between owner and mithuns were prominent. Natural streams and rivers were the sources of drinking water. Ear notching, body markings, marks in the horn and the voice of mithun for identification of the animal were some of the traditionally adopted devices. Milking of mithun was not practiced and exclusively fed to the calf for better growth. No other use of mithun hide and meat was recorded except for consumption. The mithun horn was used primarily as decoration items and sometimes as drinking cups. No modern treatment in case of disease of mithun was seen but, in the case of leech infestation and external wounds, salt was locally applied in addition to preparation of locally available herb in some small ailments. A huge gap in between the existing practices and the scientific knowledge existed in case of mithun husbandry.
Keyword: Mithun; Mithun husbandry; Mithun farmers; Practices; Beliefs; Knowledge