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Monday, February 07, 2011

Chp 336. RIP - Zika

Just heard the shocking news this morning from my sister – Zika, a hornbill that had become a family to so many people, was brutally murdered on February 1st, 2010. The news of his death became public this morning, casting a dark shadow over my locality.

Zika was not just another hornbill. He was extremely smart, friendly and not at all intimidated by humans. He frequented my locality (Chaltlang) a lot and everybody called out his name whenever they saw him, right from the smallest children to the oldest grandpa. In fact, many people who visited my locality would hope to see if they were lucky enough to catch a glimpse of Zika in action.

He was extremely popular because, after all, you don’t see any hornbills in the city, and even if you do, they’ll fly away immediately due to their natural instinct. Zika on the other hand, would directly approach you, look at you questioningly as if he’s trying to cheer you up in case you were feeling down, or just give you company because he thought you’re lonely. That is Zika.

He would fly from house to house, and everywhere he flew, people would feed him or chat with him. He would listen to you attentively, and at the same time he loved the attention he was getting from everyone.

He would watch people play football and sometimes even try to take part in the game whenever the ball was kicked in the air. He would greet school children going to school and sometimes even looked like he was trying to help them cross the busy dawrkawn road. And sometimes he would just sit at Chaltlang (dawrkawn) bus stand, greeting people who got down from the bus, as if say, “Welcome to Chaltlang”. Yes, and sometimes he would actually travel with the people inside buses or taxis!

He was truly the people’s bird.

Here is a video I took of him just barely a month ago. I did a little editing on the video and sound. I can’t believe he is no more…

According to report from The Aizawl Post newspaper, around a week ago, Zika flew to Zemabawk, a neighboring locality. He usually doesn’t venture that far from Chaltlang but this time, I guess he wanted to explore the area a bit more.

When people from Zemabawk locality saw him, the community leaders immediately announced on public loudspeakers that the bird was not to be harmed in anyway.

But then, when Zika didn’t come home to his owner’s house, Pu Zairema Sailo from Laipuitlang locality, for almost a week, they started having a bad feeling. Zika always return home and was not the type to run fly away from home or spend the night someplace else.

So when the owner started looking for him, they eventually discovered that two people from Zemabawk who apparently did not hear the announcement on the public loudspeaker saw him… and killed him.

As of today, the two culprits are booked and face possible imprisonment of 3-7 years as the hornbill is under Schedule animal 1 of the Wildlife Protection Act.

I really don’t wanna talk about how he died. It’s too painful. I feel sad to know we’re going to miss such an iconic bird. And I feel sorry for my two nieces and so many other children of my locality who have looked up to this bird as their role model and hero – A mascot of hope.

RIP Zika.