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Why Elders Protect Doves in Rural Mali

Doves in rural Mali via Fasokan with his permission

Doves in rural Mali via Fasokan with his permission

Fasokan explains why elders in rural Mali pay special attention to the protection of doves [fr] :

Les vieilles personnes font tout pour protéger ces oiseaux contre la tuerie des enfants pendant leurs chasses avec des lance-pierres. Si par hasard il arrive qu’un groupe de jeunes garçons attrape une tourterelle vivante, une vieilles personne du village rachète l’oiseau et le libère. Cet achat a pour but de mettre les enfants dans leur droit parce qu’ils ont fourni de l’effort pour l’attraper.[..] les tourterelles sont considérées comme annonciatrices d’évènements futurs selon leurs chants, comme l’arrivée d’un étranger ou d’une étrangère. De village en village pour les commissions des parents, les tourterelles informaient les jeunes envoyés en cours de route, sur la position de celui ou celle qu’ils devaient aller voir dans un autre village.

Elders would do everything in their power to protect doves when children go for a hunt with their slingshots. If a group of young boys happen catch a live dove, an old person from the village would buy the dove from them and then release it. The purchase aims not only to protect the dove but also to not punish the kids because it took some effort and ingenuity to make the catch [The reason why Doves are protected is because] they are considered harbingers of future events based on their songs of the moment. For instance  it could announce the arrival of a guest. When children run errands for their parents from village to village, doves would inform children whether the people they were looking for were at home.

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