He said that Indians are the only people who live in harmony with nature, that we are in desperate need of every grain from the field that we do not leave a furrow after the harvest to feed the pheasant, that a new age man who talks most about the nature conservation is the one who pollutes it… We could expect this kind of attitude from some passionate naturalist or avid fighter for the protection of the planet. Still, in the picture we see Vuk Kostic, an actor, hunter and fisherman, and these are truly his words.
In between rehearsals and filming, Vuk took the time to answer our questions about hunting and fishing and whether these activities are contrary to the concept of nature protection. In order not to waste time, we chose in medias res approach.
EP: People generally have a negative assumption about hunting because their first association is killing innocent animals for fun. Are hunters the enemies of nature?
Vuk Kostic: It’s a far cry from the destruction of nature because hunting is the best form of nature protection. People who have never taken a single corn cob into the woods and yet comment hunting should acknowledge that hunters are those who feed animals. When the winter comes with temperatures of – 20 or any other natural disaster, the animals run out of food. Not only do those circumstances starve the ruminants because they cannot reach the food, but predators also decimate them. Here is another example; if one year we do not hunt foxes, they multiply and eat all the rabbits in the hunting area. The following year, the foxes reproduce, but the rabbits are gone, so they have nothing to eat. Man intruded in nature a long time ago. It is easy to illustrate that. Highways crisscrossed the land so the game cannot move freely. Thus, when the man has already interfered with nature, he must regulate it. The fact is that the hunter cannot endanger nature as much as the industry can; the fisherman cannot fish as much as the industry can.
The modern man uses numerous household chemicals and does not think about nature when he enthusiastically says, “I have just sprayed a little bit and it immediately took off the rust”. And that went into the water and the packaging to a landfill where it will never decompose. Appealing packaging attracts us while shopping, but it will remain in nature for another three hundred years.
Each hunting association “Srbija sume”, every hunting ground, every forest has a game management unit. It means that you approximately know how many animal species there are per species. The aim is that the forest is full of a healthy animal population. One of the ways to maintain the game is preservation and harvesting. Apart from us hunters, mountaineers and mushroom pickers, I do not know who else goes to nature. Admittedly, some people spend one day in nature and leave behind the plastic bags, and the bear can’t pick them up. Waste Utility takes care of this in the city, but not in nature. Animals can’t deal with it.
EP: You mentioned fishermen. You also often go to the Adriatic for fishing. Is the situation at sea better than in the forests?
Vuk Kostic: I have travelled from Mexico to Australia, and there is no such beautiful sea as the Adriatic because there are no poisonous fish or sharks. In Mexico and Australia, corals can burn you, and the fish are poisonous. So, one little jellyfish can kill 20 people if they touch it. Not to mention tsetse flies, spiders, poisonous snakes, Anopheles mosquitoes and other insects.
The climate of the Adriatic is so mild, and there is nothing that can endanger and harm you. There is fish, but we should not think that this fish stock is limitless. Fish quotas have been set in Croatia, thus, for example, the period for fishing tuna is known. Still, with that measure, a small fisherman gets the wrong end of the bargain. Those with large ships and large nets catch all the fish and then it is said that one can catch only three more. And only small fishermen depend on what they catch, and they are the only endangered by this measure. The sea is polluted, but when you have protected areas, the fish has a place to circulate and spawn. One must not fish there. Finally, several old boats can be sunk, which are interesting for diving at depths of 30 meters, where fish can reside.
EP: Is there plastic at these depths?
Vuk Kostic: Not in the Adriatic. But if we were to collect all the plastic floating on the seas, we would see an island bigger than Australia. But that’s not the only problem. There is also the engine noise, as well as the one from the oil rigs, which confuse fish, mammals, dolphins, whales and it leads them in the wrong direction, so they stray. I recommend everyone to watch a documentary with Leonardo Di Caprio “Before the Flood”. Your readers will be much more aware of the problems that animals face.
EP: Apart from Serbia, is there any other place you would like to live in?
Vuk Kostic: I used to think about Mexico. Australia is beautiful too. However charming these countries are, there is no such beauty as the Adriatic.
EP: What have we demonstrated as nature guardians?
Vuk Kostic: A modern man is generally not in touch with nature. I remember one nifty anecdote. A friend of mine who is a producer was shooting a commercial in which a child was supposed to pet a cow. They went to a farm in Vojvodina. They took the cow outside, and since it had never come out of the box, it could not walk; its legs were like macaroni. It was out of the question for the child to go and cuddle it. They lost a whole day because they had to find an animal that spends its days in nature.
I believe that it will be even worse even though technology enables us the ability to protect nature. We are not good guardians, except for us hunters. It is in hunters’ best interest to have does in the forest, and others do not care if there are any. They have never seen them.
Prepared by: Nevena Djukic
Read the whole interview in the new issue of the Energy portal Magazine on ENERGY EFFICIENCY.