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Witch Medicine in the Remote Himalayas

By Rijan Tamrikar
5th June, 2009

We were in Mustang, in the north of Nepal, conducting a survey on Cheer Pheasants. After completing our call count in Kunjo, two of us moved to Ghumaune of Lete. There we stayed in the only lodge of the area, which was run by the local Thakali couple. Our host was the oldest herder of the Pipar region, a popular pheasant area. At the end of the day, while having dinner, my eye stuck on some fish-like dried animals hung above the traditional stove. I asked what they were. He simply replied “paha” (frogs). Then, I asked how many types of frogs are harvested for eating. He answered two, one is yellow in color and other is green.

“Is there any special reason for eating frogs” I asked. He plainly responded that it is good medicine for diarrhea. I inquired whether it was the common scenario in the village. He told me it was normal to have “paha”. This was not the first time I had heard about harvesting frogs in the mountainous region of Nepal. In April, 2008, we heard about people eating “paha”, the hunting of which tends to be a group recreation activity.

We are raising funds for an education program to teach the villagers about the importance of saving these fascinating frogs. Please donate today to save the “paha” and other frogs from extinction!

Shaman

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