In the town of Tura in Meghalaya we interviewed Llewellyn Marak, historian, naturalist and author. His grandfather, a noted hunter, had seen the mande-barung. He also showed his late father’s extensive collection of hunting trophies.
Eagle-eyed Jon McGowan spotted something unusual among them. There were a pair of muntjac horns of unbelievable size.
On closer examination these very distinctive horns proved to be even larger than those of the giant muntjac (Muntiacus vuquangensis) of Vietnam and Laos. The accompanying photo shows the horns next to those of the Indian muntjac (Muntiacus muntjak), the startling size difference is apparent. Local people have a name for this particular deer. The call it ‘matchok’.
As you can see in the lower picture, Jon cut of some of the inside of the horn to be analysed by Lars Thomas and his team at the University of Copenhagen.