Some Thoughts on Rats and Bats during Bamboo Flowering in Mizoram
Rodent outbreaks are believed to be associated with bamboo flowering (mautam) throughout the World. The ‘Mautam’ is the most important bamboo flowering event periodically observed at an interval of 48 (± 2) years in Mizoram, North East India. Past reports revealed heavy food grain losses during such events due to rodent outbreaks, which are believed to increase in numbers because of feeding on bamboo seeds. In several cases, 100% yield losses were found, leading to many deaths and migration of people. Because of rare occurrence and little studied event, mass flowering in bamboo gave rise to lots of myths and rumors all over the world and especially in tribal areas like Mizoram (India). Several enigmas are known from the state during Mautam; likewise one surprising fact about rodents and bats are common in Mizoram during flowering events. In this report, we tried to describe all these facts supported by all the available documents. A brief review is presented here. This is yet unsolved mystery or possibly myth; the entire phenomenon therefore needs to be carefully studied to understand the causative factors. For that, one has to wait for next ‘mautam’ which is expected to occur during 2053- 2056.
DM Firake, GT Behere and NS Azad Thakur