Thursday, February 28, 2008

Catching wild Boar on the Rajang River

I remember it was the last day of 1996 on December 31st. I was travelling alone from Belaga to Sibu, an arduous 8-hour boat journey through dense tropical rainforests and dangerous rapids. Our steel boat with twin powerful engines left early in the morning before sunrise. As an alert traveller, I always took up a seat near the windor where I could always look out for unsuspecting targets to shoot with the camera which was ever ready in my hands. About 3 hours into the journey when we were near a small rapids, there were loud shouts by the boat driver and a few passengers standing in the front. At first I thought we were going to meet an accident. But the excitement turned out to be a rare encounter with a group of wild boar crossing the river. I immediately rushed to the front with my camera...and these 3 pictures were part of a series of photos I shot of the group of 5 wild boar crossing the river. Two Iban men volunterred to jump into the river to catch the wild boars, and they were successful in catching 3 of them. The other 2 escaped by swimming for their life and disappeared into the forest on the opposite bank. Before this encounter, I had heard many stories from the Iban elders that there were frequent sightings of wild boar crossing the river . Sometimes they said more than 50 of them would cross the river at a time in a straight line. The parents or the bigger boar would usually protect the young ones in the front and also at the back. They even said sometimes the young ones would bite on the tails of the parents to prevent from being swept away by the swift current. The Iban and other native hunters were smart hunters too. When they discovered the wild boar crossing the river, they would assemble and wait with hunting dogs, spears and guns on the river bank. So we could immagine how was the battle and the slaughter as soon as the wild boar landed on the bank.There are important tips to catch an wild boar in the water. You must keep an arm's length from it and only catch its two hind legs. If you get too near or grab other parts of its body, you will surely be biten by it. So as we continued our journey after the surprise harvest, the boat owner said the 3 wild boar would be bbq for the new year party that night.

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