Indigenous people in Taiwan can legally hunt to provide food for themselves and their families, according to an interpretation of the Wildlife Conservation Act published by the government Thursday.

Once wild animals are not caught for the purpose of making a profit, it is not illegal for indigenous people to hunt them, the Council of Agriculture and the Council of Indigenous Peoples said in their interpretation of the law.

Wild animals may be caught as food for the hunters and their families or for sharing with others, in accordance with the traditional culture of the indigenous people, the two agencies said.

The interpretation was issued to address a dispute over whether hunting for self-consumption was permitted under Article 21-1 of the Wildlife Conservation Act.

"Wildlife may be hunted or killed for traditional cultural or ritual hunting, killing or utilization needs of Taiwan aborigines," the article states.

Taiwan's indigenous people number about 535,000, or 2 percent of the country’s 23.5 million people.

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