Mithun, the pride of Nagaland
Mithun the pride of Nagaland is a highly traditional prize unique animal, it is found in a few North Eastern states and at present there are four defined strains in India namely Arunachal, Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram strain. A few population of Mithun is reported in Myanmar, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Yunan province of China.
The animal has an important place in economic, social and cultural life of tribal people and owning of Mithun is considered to be an indication of social economic superiority of an individual in the society. The Mithun milk by products are considered to be the best, and its skin is thick into one inch and can be split into three layers and considered as one of the best leather while the farmers mainly rear Mithun for meat purpose.
Traditionally Mithun is reared under free-range system; the owners keep Mithun in the village community forest and jungles in group or herd. The Mithun are not provided with any kind of sheds except the common salt feeding. Occasional Mithuns are brought to the farmers house or tethered near the house during late pregnancy or calving, the animals at daytime prefer to graze in jungles having clear visibility of it surrounding and to warm up in the sunlight and at night they rest underneath the big forest trees, having a clear view to its surrounding as to foresee the possible attack of predators.
Intelligence: The Mithun recognize the owners call or voice and in time of fear they come close to human being or to the village vicinity for over night rest.
Conservation : Unlike the other states, Mithun in Nagaland is domesticated, in spite of hardship and difficulties faced by Mithun rearers, the Mithun has been conserved till today by the village and its rearing is also strengthen or supported by ways of the system of share holders and stack holders since time immemorial. Mithun serves as rural bank as of anytime money and also serves as barter trade till today in some of the village solely depend on this animal for their economy.
Government Policy: The Government of Nagaland while discouraging Jhum cultivation has identified the unique economic contribution of Mithun to be one of the best alternative crops to Jhum cultivation which will also directly or indirectly prevent Global Warming and Climatic change. March 2011