STORY HIGHLIGHTS


New life of China's "last hunting tribe"

CNC
Added On August 7, 2017

The Ewenki ethnic group, from north China, are dubbed the country's "last hunting tribe".

In 2003, they bid farewell to mountain-life and settled down in the city.
 
Now, just over a decade later, we caught up with them to see how they've adapted to their new life.
 
It's a busy time for hunter Bu Dongxia as July always sees a rise in the number of tourists.
 
Many flock into her farm, just for taking a closer look at the reindeers.
 
In Ewenki, Aoluguya means "place with lush poplar trees". 
 
The tribe used to live a nomadic life in the thick forests of the Khingan Mountains.
 
Growing up in the forest, Bu Dongxia's childhood was all about hunting and raising reindeer.
 
In 2003, in a step to improve the herders' living standard, the local government helped the tribe relocate to the suburb area of Genhe, providing new houses.
 
Since then, most Ewenki people have put down their hunting rifles and resettled in the city.
 
Today, their income mainly comes from raising reindeer, making handicrafts, and offering home stays.
 
 
SOUNDBITE(CHINESE)BU DONGXIA, Ewenki hunter
"Thanks to the promotion by the government, now more and more people have come to know Ewenki people and reindeers. The number of tourists and our income have both increased compared to the past when we lived in the mountains."
 
 
Bu Jinlin and his wife run a handicraft store, selling reindeer-themed products.
 
They've also renovated their house to accommodate tourists.
 
At first, Bu Jinlin said he was struggled with the idea of giving up his traditional life. After 18 years in the forests, he found it difficult to make a living without hunting. 
 
Instead, he went to east China's coastal city Qingdao and worked there till 2015, when his hometown witnessed a huge boom in tourism.
 
 
SOUNDBITE(CHINESE) BU JINLIN, Ewenki hunter
"What I do now is hosting travelers and making handicrafts. It's convenient to live in the city." 
 
One of China's 56 recognized ethnic groups, the Ewenki people are thought to have originated in Southern Siberia, close to the Mongolian border. At the last census in 2010, there are just over 30,000 Ewenkis living in China.