Saturday, February 03, 2007

Gathering Chilk (칡) and stepping over corpses

Chilk is a very thick root; above ground it is a vine that chokes small trees. I'm told the root is good for your health. I find this likely because it tastes terrible.
One of Kwandongwife's coworkers asked if I would like to collect some, so, with some prodding, out I went.
Below, my friends clean some chilk in icy creek water. They will clean it again at home. I was waiting, reluctantly trying to volunteer to take my turn. Luckily, they did the cleaning and I stayed warm in the van.

Most of the day was warm for us as we were in a narrow valley and evaded the wind, which was terrible at the road and creek.

We collected the chilk in a low mountain valley near Wanggok village. Walking from the van, we found this snare. My friend told me it was intended for boar, which can be found in Gangwondo.

Higher in the valley and off the trail we found two dead animals. A deer, still entangled in a snare and another animal described as a 'go-ran-i' or small, wild cat (maybe similar to a lynx in size). Most distinguishing features were missing but I could certainly see one long canine. However a long canine is not diagnostic for carnivores in Korea. It could have been a water-deer as they have a pair of saber teeth instead of antlers. The fur on both animals was brown and russet so that was no help. Anyway, I have no reason to doubt the greater local knowledge of my guides so I guess it could have been a wild cat. I have photos but have chosen not to post them.

For related subjects, you could read my posts on two bears, recently re-introduced to Chilisan, being caught in farmer's traps. For Korea's saber-toothed deer, look here. Regarding wildlife in general in Korea, the Chosun has an article about the surprising number of road kill.


GI Korea said...

Do you know if it legal to set up snares like that or not? Is it even legal to hunt over in Gangwon-do?

kwandongbrian said...

I'll look into it. I don't know but I think farmers have some latitude in protecting their crops. One of the farmers whose trap killed a bear recieved a reduced sentence because he had a reason for the trap.

skindleshanks said...

BTW, I believe that 칡 is known in English as arrowroot, which, until moving to Korea, I knew only as the name of a baby cookie.
We had a bout of gastroenteritis come through our house over the last couple days, so it would have been nice to have some of those cookies on hand.