Friday, March 28, 2008

"They Killed the Lion"

Yesterday I was  chatting with my teacher and mentor when his cell phone rang.  "They killed the lion" he told me after he hung up.  The lion he was referring to had been plaguing the village of Jon Fa Kuru (my teachers natal village).   Apparently the lion had killed and eaten many cows and local hunters had been after it for a while.  My teacher explained to me that the lion had been killed the night before last and that it was on its way to the Mara Bagga Yoro (animal parts market) in downtown Bamako.  

About four hours after the initial call a man came to greet my teacher.  He was the middleman that had transported the hide and head of the lion to Bamako to sell.  Think of it as commission work, my teacher told me.  "He (the middleman) will sell it and give half of the money to the hunter that killed the lion."  I asked who the hunter was, maybe I knew him?  Turns out I had met him during my stay in Jon Fa Kuru.  I'm told that the hunter used the brake cable from a motorcycle to make a leg snare trap.  Several hours after baiting the trap the hunter returned to find the lion snared and already dead.  The lion killed itself trying to get free.  Within 24 hours of being hunted the head and hide of the lion had been transported to Bamako to be sold.  The estimated price for the lion parts is 300,000cfa (approximately $600.00).  It was all sold to one specific vendor that is known to have significant capital at his disposal.  The following photos were taken in the compound of my teacher, out of public sight.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Big Haul!

The other day I arrived at the Mara Bagga Yorro (animal parts market) to find one of my friends and research participant with a large grin on his face.  It turned out that he had just purchased an incredible amount of new stock for his stall.  All the stock was bought from a single hunter that had traveled from Western Mali to sell his wares.  The purchase included the following:

1 Roan Antelope Hide
6 Roan Antelope horns
8 Hartebeest horns
2 Warthog heads
1 Civet head
5 Porcupine heads
7 bundles of porcupine quills
7 porcupine stomachs
10 Baboon heads                                                                                 
1 Mongoose head
5 Patas monkey heads  
2 Fish Eagle talons
7 juvenile crocodile heads
1 juvenile hyena head
1 juvenile hyena hide
1 juvenile hyena tail
10 barn owls
1 starling
2 Black cobras
3 Puff Adders
1 juvenile Savannah Monitor
40 dried chameleons
1 Jackal head
20 Bushbuck horns
15 Baboon paws
2 Duiker forelegs
4 Caracal forelegs
1 Civet hide
3 Falcons

The total paid for this haul of animal parts was 50,000cfa (roughly $105.00); a deal if there ever was one.  No wonder my friend had a big grin on his face.