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Chenchus believe the fox ushers in fortune

The nomadic tribal families have succeeded in domesticating the animal

April 17, 2019 11:55 pm | Updated 11:55 pm IST - KRITHIVENNU (KRISHNA)

Unique bonding:  A Chenchu tribal family with the domesticated fox near Krithuvennu mandal.

Unique bonding: A Chenchu tribal family with the domesticated fox near Krithuvennu mandal.

Two Chenchu tribal families were found in deep grief in a makeshift house under a tree along the national highway near Krithuvennu town in Krishna district.

Nancharamma Nakkavolu, 52, says: “Two young female foxes presented to my relatives in a nearby town of Bantumilli died two weeks ago after goat milk was fed to them. A month ago, we caught four foxes — three female and one male — from the pits in Kruthivennu area.”

The children however are seen in a playful mood with the lone female fox.

The nomadic Chenchu tribal families have succeeded in domesticating the fox. “Beginning the day by seeing the face of the fox is a ‘fortune’,” Ms. Nancharamma told The Hindu . The tribal families in the district, less than 100, eke out a livelihood in fishing in the ponds, collecting wild crab and rats.

“We offer rats, fish and wild crab to our foxes as food. They also love to accompany us to the fields,” says Nagaraju Nallapothu, another Chenchu family member.

Most of the time in a day, the fox is left freely without being tied to a pole or tree.

For the children of these families, they are the prime source of entertainment.

“We do not catch the fox to make money from it by selling for any purpose. The new-born foxes are found in pits in the breeding grounds,” he said.

In a bizarre incident reported four years ago in the Krithuvennu mandal, a non-tribal man had offered ₹5,000 for the fox skin. “On being advised by a godman, he had meditated sitting on the skin for ‘fortune for two weeks’.

However, such a belief is arguably doesn’t exist now in our area,” a youth who skinned the fox said on condition of anonymity.

An offence: official

Senior official at the Srisailam Nagarjuna Sagar Tiger Reserve Nageswara Rao said: “The conservation of fox falls under the Indian Wildlife Protection Act 1972, according to which hunting or domesticating it is an offence and attracts punishment.

“The possession of fox even by the non-forest dwellers also is an offence.”

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