People and the Nature - the Spotted Deer of Taiwan
The last hunter
"A young man in warrior garment is chasing a spotted deer in the wild. The faithful hound jumps on the spotted deer regardless of its own safety". This is a portrayal of the lifestyle of the Pingpu Man in Taiwan illustrated during the Qing Dynasty. Spotted deer is a subspecies of the Cervidae that is native to Taiwan, and is named for the white spots on its back that resemble plum blossoms. Spotted deer lived forests all over Taiwan since the ancient times, and they had close association with the history and the indigenous peoples in Taiwan. However, since the deerskin trade took place after the arrival of the Dutch in the 17th century, the population of spotted deer had gradually reduced due to excessive hunting and use of their habitats as farmland, and eventually, the spotted deer are extinct on this land. Attributed to the advocacy of the concerns experts and researchers, the restoration and research on Taiwan spotted deer in Kenting National Park has gained rudimentary results.
Hunting is an important custom to the indigenous peoples. In the early times, the animals were the main source of meat for the tribesmen. Just like the conviction of the indigenous peoples that holds high respect for the nature and godly spirits, there are many taboos concerning the activity of hunting. For example, the rules on the hunting seasons and the type of animals to be hunted, and the decision on hunting made upon observation of signs could avoid punishments from the evil spirits or fruitless hunting. The rules are indeed wisdoms that the ancestors of the indigenous peoples on the utilization of and respect for the natural resources. Hunting also serves the purpose of training a man to become a warrior. The hunted animals are shared with the rest of the tribe. Today, this traditional activity is facing confrontation and criticism from the modern world under the concept of animal protection.