Humma is a very distinctive place where the community is protecting an endangered, endemic and commercially important fish species due to religious beliefs. A stretch in and around the temple is protected by the villagers of Huta.
Humma is a very dynamic system, due to the continuously flowing river stream. Though we are concentrating on efforts taken by community in conservation of mahaseer, the area seemed to be important as a suitable habitat for other wild animals too. Local people indicated occurrence of jungle cat, Indian otter, jackal and various water birds.
The stretch of Mahanadi in Humma in particular represents a suitable habitat for trout like Mahaseer owing to rocky streams with flowing waters. Local people relate an ancient folk tale of a fisherman and his wife who turned into stone while cutting the kado fish. There is a monument on an island opposite the temple, where statues of this fisherman and his wife are present. The discussion with local fishermen revealed that fishermen generally avoid catching these fishes. If they do get any kado fish, they release it back into the river. Catching or hurting these fishes is considered a sin.
The most important role played in conservation is that of the fisherfolk in the village who do not fish for mahaseer, despite its commercial importance. The entire village through the temple committee is involved in decisions about the river stretch and the temple. Since Humma temple is a monument of archeological importance, the Department of Tourism and Department of Archeology are also concerned about the conservation effort. Considering that the high concentration of fish is one of the major attractions for the devotees visiting the temple, the Tourism Department is interested in retaining this traditional practice. The devotees feed bhog (temple offerings) to these fish, considered an act of virtue. The best season for sighting kado fish is from winter (after Kartik Poornima) to the starting of the monsoon, when the water is clear and quiet.
In addition to the mahaseer fish, this area also harbours some rare species like Indian otter. The local people, especially the fisherfolk community, are closely associated with the otter, since otters help them to catch fish. Therefore it is important to map the status of otters in this area.