The Ngandu as Hunters in the Zaïre River Basin
This paper provides a detailed description of the hunting activities of the Ngandu, a primarily agricultural people living in the tropical rain forest of the Zaïre River Basin. Four key aspects are presented: types of hunting, hunting rituals, the complex cultural systems surrounding hunting, and the distribution of the meat. The extent to which the Ngandu forest people have been and still are concerned with hunting animals that inhabit the forest is also considered. The environmental limitations of tropical rain forests as the context for hunting activities are discussed. It is suggested that such factors have spurred the development of collective hunting, in which unknown numbers of animals are driven to their capture, and have stimulated the development of a variety of effective trapping techniques. Unlike mobile hunter-gatherers, the primarily agricultural Ngandu have to stay in one more or less restricted area to simultaneously maintain their agricultural subsistence activities. It is suggested that the combination of the fact that the Ngandu practice both agricultural and hunting activities within a rain forest environment has largely provided the impetus for the development of a sophisticated hunting technology embedded within a complex cultural system.
Key Words: Bantu-speaking people; Zaïre River Basin; Hunting techniques; Hunting rituals; Distribution of meat; Trapping.
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