Hunting and Gathering in Papua New Guinea

Traditionally, men hunted the larger creatures such as wild pigs, crocodiles, possums, cassowaries and wallabies, and women caught small mammals and reptiles. Women gathered anything edible leaves, fruit, eggs, grubs, shellfish and insects. Today most food comes from other sources but gathering still contributes significantly to the diet of women and children in some rural areas. Hunting still provides important sources of food for some village communities. In others, it has become primarily a source of important decoration (e.g., bird feathers), or merely of social outings much enjoyed by men. There is evidence that the replacement of traditional hunting weapons – spears, bows and arrows, nets, traps – by rifles and shotguns is bringing some highly valued species (e.g., birds of paradise) close to extinction.

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