When we arrived at the house of gru Ay Be -- aka Y Then Eban -- he was repairing his house. The 70 year old kept picking up his elephant hunting equipment and putting it down with a sad look in his eyes while tidying the house. The kit had been with him through numerous life-and-death experiences in the forests and was a symbol of his youth and the pride of the whole clan.Tuoi Tre, No country for elephants: Sunset over a kingdom, Tuoi Tre Online (www.tuoitre.vn)
The instruments consisted of a rope (about 60 meters in length), made from the hide of three male buffaloes, a pair of poles with hard hooks to prod and guide the captured elephant, a horn, a water cask made of buffalo horn, and a bamboo pipe. He had used them on his first hunt in 1960 when he was 18.
These objects are sacred to every gru. Yet, many have sold them after hunting elephant became rare. Ay Be is among the few gru’s in Don to retain his elephant hunting kit.