Friday, November 26, 2010

Kerama Deer on Zamami

Kerama deer are a 'historical treasure' on Aka and Geruma.  They also live on a couple smaller islands but have never gained a foothold on Zamami.  It's a respectable swim but not too far, so I've often wondered if the deer aren't adventurous or - more likely - any deer that ever lived on Zamami were quietly killed off by the villagers.

Well recently I've been hearing rumors of deer sightings in Ama and Asa, the two smaller villages on each side of the cove that Zamami occupies.  On Sunday I was walking back to my apartment at 2pm and suddenly saw a deer in the village of Zamami!  Eating!  In the middle of the afternoon!  Surrounded by 10 picture-takers!

This might be a once-in-ten-years event, so the deer couldn't move anywhere without a dozen people around him (how he got to this place to begin with is also a mystery, since it doesn't border on any logical forest he would be living in).  Pretty soon some guys who wanted to catch, kill, and eat him showed up.  I was being heavily recruited, since I have animal wrangling/killing experience.  But as much as I like eating wild meat, I wasn't supportive of killing the only (or one of two) deer on the island. I'd rather let them live a couple years and get a sustainable population going first.  Also, I am told they are a recognized national treasure on Aka and Geruma, but not Zamami. I'm not sure how that works, but I am not keen to lose my job by killing an endangered animal in the middle of the afternoon in the village on a weekend.  With 25 people watching.  Here is a video I took of the attempted capture by my marlin fishing friends:

I left the scene before the deer was captured, which I heard he was.  However, the policeman was in on it, too, so I was also told the deer was driven over to Ama and released.  Hope he finds a girlfriend!

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