To promote the autonomous hunting management of the Tsou Tribe, Chiayi Forest District Office of the Forestry Bureau, Chiayi County Government, and the Tsou Tribe signed the Tsou Tribe Autonomous Hunting Management Letter of Intent at the Chukou Nature Center today (August 13th, 2019). It is hoped that the public benefits of ecological conservation and sustainable management of resources can be realized and that the Tsou Tribe autonomous hunting management can be implemented. The signing of the letter of intent is the first declaration of the government and the indigenous people to formally share the rights, jointly fulfill their responsibilities, and jointly guard the mountains and forests. It is an important milestone of the indigenous people on the management of natural resources.
Tsou Tribe and the Chiayi Forest District Office Working Together to Promote Sustainable Wildlife Resource Management
The Chiayi Forest District Office has always attached great importance to the partnership with the indigenous people. In order to establish a mechanism for the participation of the indigenous people, the “Tsou Tribe Ecological Tourism and Nature Conservation Advisory Committee of the Chiayi Forest District Office of the Forestry Bureau, Council of Agriculture” was set up in October 2006. The traditional wisdom and experience of the Tsou people will be borrowed to provide advice and suggestions on eco-tourism, nature conservation, and regional development in the Alishan area, in order to serve as reference for the implementation of the relevant work tasks by the Forest District Office.
The Chiayi Forest District Office has proactively promoted the autonomous hunting management of the Tsou Tribe so that the traditional wisdom of the Tsou people on tribal hunting ground operation and hunting management can be borrowed to serve as a basis of reference. Since 2014, the Chiayi Forest District Office has jointly promoted autonomous hunting management with the Tsou Tribe, and completed the establishment of the Tsou Tribe autonomous hunting management mechanism, hunted species investigation and monitoring, mentoring for hunting activities that are legal and in line with traditional cultural needs, establishment of the Chiayi County Tsou Hunter Association, and the issuance of hunter permits.
Repeated Research and Discussions to Reach Consensus, Confirming Autonomous Hunting Management Goals
In order to achieve the goals of autonomous hunting management, the Chiayi Forest District Office organized three Tsou Tribe autonomous hunting management administrative contract negotiation meetings. Matters regarding the Tsou Tribe autonomous hunting management administrative contract were fully discussed with the Council of Indigenous Peoples, Forestry Bureau, Chiayi County Government, Tsou Tribe representatives, and the Chiayi County Tsou Hunter Association, and a full consensus has been reached. The Tsou Tribe Autonomous Hunting Management Administrative Contract, for the Tsou people to manage the hunting affairs autonomously, will be signed by the Chiayi County Government and the Chiayi Forest District Office respectively with the Chiayi County Tsou Hunter Association. At present, the Forestry Bureau is actively carrying out the revision of the relevant laws and regulations of the Wildlife Conservation Act. After the regulations have been authorized, the administrative contract can then be signed to implement the autonomous hunting management of the Tsou Tribe.
Taiwan's first indigenous group-based hunter association, the “Chiayi County Tsou Hunter Association”, will be the unit that performs hunting management in the future. With the assistance of the Chiayi Forest District Office and the consensus with the Tsou hunters, the Hunter Association has established the Hunting Autonomous and Self-Regulated Pact, which is stricter than the law. Members are required to pass the assessment of the association and meet the requirements of traditional hunting culture, hunting techniques, and ecological protection in order to obtain the hunter permit and hunt in the area of which the application has been legally approved by the association. On March 20, 2019, 89 hunters were issued with the hunter permit. Before the signing of the Letter of Intent today, the second batch of hunter permits for 89 hunters was also issued. This represents the most powerful and binding statement of the Tsou hunters to abide by the hunting “einu” and autonomously manage wildlife resources sustainably.
Partnership for Sustainable Forests
The Chiayi Forest District Office said that the Tsou people are familiar with every blade of grass and every leaf on the trees in the Alishan area, and therefore hope that the Tsou partners will transform from the role of providing advice and suggestions in the past, to become partners of the Forest District Office as co-guardians of the mountains and forests. For subsequent activities such as autonomous hunting management, wildlife population monitoring, and forest patrol notifications, cooperation with the tribal communities will continue to be promoted. The signing of the autonomous hunting management letter of intent is only a small step in the overall process. Follow-up cooperation with the Tsou partners will be expanded for the mountain and forest affairs, so that our common core values can be implemented in the greater Alishan region.