Saturday, 14 July 2012

Fishing with Cormorants

It is partnership between man and animal which has lasted over a millennia. A fisherman needs to catch enough fish to sell and feed himself and his family. Sometimes that means that he needs an assistant. Along the river ways of China that assistance has come from a member of the pelicaniformes order of birds – the bird we call the cormorant.

These are working animals in much the same way as dogs and horses on farms in the west with a specific role assigned to them. The major primary difference is that the cormorants are not born in to captivity. They are lured by bait and caught. The training process can then begin.

From the moment they are caught the cormorants are treated with the utmost care and attention. The fishermen keep in close contact with their birds in the first few weeks. At first they are kept in cages and the fishermen will regularly take the cormorants out, giving their heads a massage and stroking their bellies.

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