From Hunting to Shooting

I have observed that wild birds still have been hunt, sold and trafficked on the streets in some remote provinces, and nearby Phnom Penh. It recalls my unforgettable childhood memories. I liked hunting with a slingshot using clay balls bullets. Being an effective shooter, I was popular among friends in my village. More often, I and my friends went through the forest searching for a big tree where those big birds live, nest, lay eggs and nurture. We hid and waited, and joyfully hunt those birds as they returned to feed their nestling. One day, a friend of mine captured a nestling, from a nest on a branch, and swing it to cry loudly, as a decoy, to hunt the mother. As the nestlings cried out loud, the parents, bravely and loudly, flew to attack me, attracting other birds to do so too. As they were shot in the feet or wings, they could not escape but crawling into and disappeared in the lawn and bush. We then burned the latter to capture them. As the flame gradually spread, it burned not only the small trees but also lawn around the nests causing the big birds to fly in the dark smoke and the flame seeking their beloved nestlings. When the fire ceased, I and other hunters picked those death birds home, joyfully.

Having learnt that all birds have feelings, loving their family and communities, like human. Their existence also attracts both domestic and international visitors. More importantly, the birds inhabiting in the forest are the beauty of our village and community; such beautiful scenery mesmerizes the photograph lovers like me, and the other photographers. Given my experience as a hunter, our community should consider avoiding hunting all (endangered) bird species for daily livelihoods and consumption, and instead, raising fish, chicken, duck, pigs, cattle and other livestock. We should preserve wild birds for sightseeing (bird observation) and photographic purposes, generating income for our community.

These photographic artworks, entitled “From hunting to shooting”, are created contributing to changing our habit: hunting wild birds for consumption and trading. Stop consuming all kinds of wildlife starts from ourselves. It is not too late to protect the remaining natural resources for our next generation.