On September 4, Pasing Tribal Community of Heping District, Taichung City, held the inaugural ceremony of the "Taichung Pasing Tribal Community Hunting Culture Association." The establishment of the first hunter's association for indigenous people in Taichung City was witnessed by Chang Hung-Yi, Director of the Dongshih Forest District Office, Wang Cheng-Hsien, Secretary of the Taichung Heping District Office, Pasing Tribal Community elders, and the Chairman of the Pasing Community Development Association. Through the issuance of a hunting permit, it was declared that the tribal community will be committed to autonomous management and protection of endangered wildlife. Under the Atayal "gaga" spirit (moral rules) and the joint establishment of an autonomous hunting management pact, the wildlife resources in the traditional hunting grounds will be used sustainably. This symbolizes a new milestone for the coexistence of tribal culture and natural resources.
Since 2017, the Dongshih Forest District Office has been working with Atayal hunters in the Heping District of Taichung City, striving towards the co-management of wildlife resources. The Pasing Tribal Community in Heping District, Taichung City, has been working closely with the Forest District Office. Through continuous communication, the Forest District office has assisted the tribal community members to apply for hunting permits according to the law. In addition, they have performed joint inspections of the tribe's hunting grounds, explored the traditional territories and hunting routes, and set up automatic cameras to monitor the population fluctuations of hunted animals, with the help of hunters' feedback. This has enabled the hunting culture and regulations of the tribal community to be gradually systematized. When the hunting culture association was established, the association was specifically named after "Pasing" in the Atayal language, showing the tribal community's determination to continue the legacy of the Atayal culture.
After more than four years of investigation by the Dongshih Forest District Office, the results of the automatic camera monitoring showed that during the managed hunting activities, the population richness of the Reeves's muntjac, Taiwan serow, and Formosan wild boar in the traditional hunting grounds of the Pasing Tribal Community remained stable. Occasionally, the cameras would capture endangered species too, such as the leopard cat and the Formosan black bear. For the conservation of endangered species, the tribal community has established its own hunting pact to prohibit the hunting of endangered wildlife, while hunting activities and hunting equipment are controlled according to different areas, grades, and seasons. They also follow the Forest District Office's black bear notification mechanism, where the Forest District Office will be notified immediately if endangered species are found and in need of rescue. During the Mt. Tungmao black bear rescue operation in 2020, hunters from the Pasing Tribal Community were among the first to contribute to the rescue efforts.
During the inauguration ceremony, Director Chang Hung-Yi of the Dongshih Forest District Office presented the hunting permit to a hunter representing the association. In the future, the 32 hunters of the association will adhere to the "gaga" spirit of the Atayal people and follow the rules of the autonomous hunting management pact when carrying out hunting activities. They will be removed from the association should they be in violation of the rules. Director Chang Hung-Yi said that the hunting culture association will be responsible for the management of Pasing Tribal Community's hunting activities. The role of the Forest District Office and the mentoring team will gradually shift to provide guidance with regards to the association's operations, and to assist with animal population dynamics monitoring and analysis. With greater power comes greater responsibility. The Pasing Tribal Community bears the responsibility of being a model tribe, so that they can show more people that tribal communities can co-manage wildlife resources with Forest District Offices, and that indigenous hunters do not senselessly hunt wildlife as preconceived. On the contrary, under the concept of sustainable use, the hunters will protect endangered species, abstain from hunting indiscriminately, cooperate with the policy of hunting equipment promoted by the government, patrol traditional hunting grounds, and even assist the public sector in setting up automatic cameras and reporting back their hunting numbers to provide information on wildlife in traditional territories. The Forestry Bureau and the indigenous people should have a strong "partnership," and "sustainability" should be a core value shared by both parties.
The Pasing Tribal Community hopes to use the establishment of the hunting association to unite the tribal communities and build consensus, and serve as a platform for communication between the government and academic institutions. The association will also hold training courses to enrich the hunters' knowledge, including hunting culture, hunting firearm safety, hunting-related laws and regulations, and knowledge on endangered species conservation. The association hopes to pass on the legacy of the hunting culture to the tribe's younger generation, and to achieve the preservation of traditional culture and species biodiversity through tribal autonomous management. In turn, it can make people aware that indigenous culture and wildlife conservation are mutually complementary.