Pounding the Mound

Heres a program from our archives.Baka musicThe Baka people of Cameroon in Central Africa are very much in tune with the seasonal changes of their rainforest environment. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.Agland: The Baka are acutely aware of the changes in the forest during the course of a year or even two years. [and] They are also able to predict when certain fruits or certain animals are available. For example, in the situation where they’re exploiting termites.Phil Agland is a filmmaker who lived with the Baka for several years while making a documentary about them.Agland: Termites are a great source of protein, which is a very important part of the Baka diet.A subterranean termite colony is a bit like an iceberg. The top is only the tip that you see, and underneath is this huge mound that may stretch for 20, 30 meters underground. [and] At a certain point of the year, usually at the beginning of the rains, the winged termites will gather in the top of the mound just above ground. The way the Baka will tackle this, is they will creep up on the mound so that the winged termites don’t hear them, and therefore won’t retreat underground. [and] To stop them retreating underground, they will force smoke into the subterranean passages which will rise and keep the termites in the tip. At that point, they will break open the mound and eat the termites.Ambience, breaking open termite mound Agland: At the moment we’re hearing the Baka pounding the mound. They’re breaking open the mound. But music is ever-present in the Baka’s life, and they love to break into a kind of rhythm. Why just knock senselessly when you can do it in a sense of a rhythm with a pounding this mound.This archival program is part of our thirtieth anniversary celebration. If you want hear more, check out our podcast.

Pounding the Mound

The Baka use an ingenious method to harvest termites.
Air Date:09/27/2018
Scientist:
Transcript:

Heres a program from our archives.Baka musicThe Baka people of Cameroon in Central Africa are very much in tune with the seasonal changes of their rainforest environment. I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.Agland: The Baka are acutely aware of the changes in the forest during the course of a year or even two years. [and] They are also able to predict when certain fruits or certain animals are available. For example, in the situation where they're exploiting termites.Phil Agland is a filmmaker who lived with the Baka for several years while making a documentary about them.Agland: Termites are a great source of protein, which is a very important part of the Baka diet.A subterranean termite colony is a bit like an iceberg. The top is only the tip that you see, and underneath is this huge mound that may stretch for 20, 30 meters underground. [and] At a certain point of the year, usually at the beginning of the rains, the winged termites will gather in the top of the mound just above ground. The way the Baka will tackle this, is they will creep up on the mound so that the winged termites don't hear them, and therefore won't retreat underground. [and] To stop them retreating underground, they will force smoke into the subterranean passages which will rise and keep the termites in the tip. At that point, they will break open the mound and eat the termites.Ambience, breaking open termite mound Agland: At the moment we're hearing the Baka pounding the mound. They're breaking open the mound. But music is ever-present in the Baka's life, and they love to break into a kind of rhythm. Why just knock senselessly when you can do it in a sense of a rhythm with a pounding this mound.This archival program is part of our thirtieth anniversary celebration. If you want hear more, check out our podcast.