Building awareness on the State Animal: Mithun Exhibition at Hornbill Festival 2023


BY | Monday, 4 December, 2023

In a first of its kind, a Mithun exhibition is on display at the 24th edition of the Hornbill festival here at the Naga Heritage Village, Kisama. The exhibition has been set up by the ICAR-National Research Centre on Mithun.

One adult, one young male Mithun and one adult female mithun is on display at the hornbill festival, with an aim to create more awareness about the magnificent semi-domesticated and unique bovine species and its multi utility.

Mithun, scientifically known as Bos frontalis, is deeply intertwined with the indigenous communities, ecological balance, and local traditions of the northeastern states. It is considered the state animal of Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland, highlighting its profound cultural significance.

A landmark decision was also made this year, when the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) officially recognized the Mithun, a captivating and culturally significant bovine species found in Northeast India, as a ‘food animal.’ This recognition also paves way for the commercial use of Mithun meat, offering a promising economic boost to the region while preserving its rich cultural heritage.

The ICAR-National Research Centre on Mithun is also offering products such as Mithun Milk, paneer, curd, whey and mithun meat products such as nuggets, meat balls, smoked meat sausages, pickles,etc at Kisama.

“Although, we take pride in Mithun being our state animal, many Nagas and other tribal people have not seen a live Mithun, so to advertise our pride and also to make people aware that Mithun is not only for meat consumption but it is a multi purpose animal, we have brought three Mithuns for display, this Hornbill. I should say, this is a very good platform for us to create awareness about this majestic animal,” said Dr.Sapunii Stephen, Senior Scientist at ICAR-NRC on Mithun.

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Mithun is highly esteemed by tribal communities in Nagaland, Mizoram, Manipur, and Arunachal Pradesh, serving as a valuable animal with versatile uses. Beyond its cultural significance, Mithun is employed for draught purposes. It’s meat, milk, and hides are utilized for diverse value added products.

The recognition of Mithun as a ’food animal’ by the FSSAI is definitely opening up new economic opportunities for farmers and tribal communities.This development also signifies a shift towards economic empowerment and financial sustainability for the region’s residents.

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