Wild Boar In New Guinean Culture

The Baktaman tribe of the New Guinea rainforests incorporated wild boars into their informal rituals. There are three aspects of the boar that dominate Baktaman awareness. First, the wild boar is seen as an anti-fertility force, since it is commonly observed destroying fences and annihilating gardens. Second, hunters are eager to gather boar meat for consumption, since it is by far the largest wild animal present in Baktaman habitats. The boar hunt also symbolizes the courage and skill of the hunter, and exemplifies the strength of this mighty enemy. Lastly, sows depend on wild boar for reproduction. This makes the boar a symbol of male fertility and the essence of virility 1.

Although the minuscule Baktaman tribe on consists of 183 individuals, they are still able to create a plethora of cultural significance and symbolism through interaction with wild life. The Bimin-Kuskusmin tribe also uses boar's blood during a rite of passage ceremony for young boys. In this culture, boar's blood is believed to enhance masculinity 2.


  • 1 - Barth, Frederik. Cosmologies in the Making: A Generative Approach to Cultural Variation in Inner New Guinea. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1990. <link>
  • 2 - Herdt, Gilbert H. Rituals of manhood: male initiation in Papua New Guinea. Edison, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 1998. <link>