Dulte is a small sleepy village located about 105 Km from Aizawl. The village is popularly nicknamed  "the children's village of Mizoram" owing to the village's reputation of having many children playing on its street. The village sits on a highway connecting Aizawl and the town of Champhai. It has become a tradition among Passerby to count the number of children they saw playing on the street of Dulte. But in 2005 the village made headlines in the country after the news of the town mourning over the death of a gibbon and giving it a full Mizo traditional funeral ceremony surfaced. 

The news sent shockwaves across Mizoram as it was one of the first documented cases of an animal being given a human burial with full traditional honour. Like any other Mizo traditional funeral ceremony, the town's folk stayed up all night, sang traditional funeral songs and garb themselves with Pawndum to express their grief and loss. 

The entire village had protected and looked over the lone male Hullock Gibbon that was residing near a reserved forest in Dulte for nearly 3 years. Unfortunately, in November 2005, the Gibbon was shot dead by two poachers from another village. 

The incident shocked the people of Dulte who have considered the Gibbon as part of their community. The news of his death was especially shocking to them as the gibbon was said to have attracted a mate ( Gibbons mate for life). Like any human who has died in the community, the Gibbon was given a full traditional funeral ceremony and was buried in the village. The poachers were arrested and civil societies of the village including the YMA demanded that the culprits be punished according to the law. The female gibbon that was occasionally seen with the village's gibbon disappeared as it was too scared to approach the village. 

The ceremony was telecasted live all across Mizoram by local cable TVs. Many expressed their sadness over the incident while many more mocked the people of Dulte for being "Overdramatic". 

Whatever the reception of the incident was at that time, the Dulte incident left a dent on Mizo wildlife conservation movement and is now hailed as one of the most important chapters in Mizo history. The spirit of conservationism was in a way reignited by this incident, as more and more people and communities come out to protect the dwindling wildlife that their villages and town had left. And thanks to the conservation efforts of both Mizo communities and the government, Mizoram is now seeing the return of its wildlife. 

The grave of the slain Dulte Gibbon

" Our beloved  GIBBON while being in the loving care of YMA and village council of Dulte,  on 6.NOV.05 died from an injury  afflicted on him by poachers."

The Hullock Gibbon is the only ape found in India, they are  the second-largest of the gibbons, after the siamang. They reach a size of 60 to 90 cm and weigh 6 to 9 kg. The sexes are about the same size, but they differ considerably in coloration; males are black-colored with remarkable white brows, while females have a grey-brown fur, which is darker at the chest and neck. White rings around their eyes and mouths give their faces a mask-like appearance. They are greatly threatened by habitat destruction and poaching. 

The Hullock Gibbon, known as Hahuk in Mizo is a deeply respected animal among the Mizos. Though hunting was part of Mizo ancient practices, the ancient Mizos never considered the Gibbon to be a game animal, it was considered bad luck to even kill the animal by mistake. 

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The Mizos

The Mizos is a one-man team news blog, that brings you news and stories from Mizoram, Northeast India and the rest of the World.

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