Dhangadi, December 12
As human settlement in what used to be a wildlife conservation area in the past grew thick, the same has led to increasing conflict between humans and wild animals in Kanchanpur of late.
Just yesterday, two women died in an elephant attack in Mahakali Municipality. Hulidevi Bohara, 50, and Basanti Bhatta, 38, of Dodhara Chandani died on the spot after they were attacked by tuskers in Makuri Community Forest. Four others, namely, Lalita Bohara, 35, Sunita Bista, 34, Uma Saud, 32, and Sarita Ojha, 24, of Dodhara Chandani were injured in the tusker attack.
Prior to the recent casualty, elephant attack had claimed the life of a person in Shuklaphanta Municipality, a few months ago.
Similarly, according to data, in the past five years seven persons have lost their lives to tusker attacks in Kanchanpur, while 12 have been injured.
Places such as Punarbas, Belauri, Beldangi, Laljhadi, Krishnapur, Mahakali, Bhimdatta and Shuklaphanta municipalities are worst-hit by unwanted visitations of wildlife, mainly elephants, estranged from Dudhuwa National Park of India.
Most of the places, thus affected by rampaging elephants, fall on the zoological corridor between India’s Dudhuwa National Park and Nepal’s Shuklaphanta National Park.
Loss of life aside, estranged wildlife has also caused damage to crops and property in settlements in the aforementioned places.
Though some of the farmers were compensated for the damage, citing constant threat of wildlife, the locals of Punarbas reached out to the chief minister of the province a few months ago seeking security and compensation for all the affected.
As a measure to keep wild beasts at bay, locals have been using a number of strategies. “We used to set off firecrackers, ignite fire and make noise to keep them (elephants) away, but it seems they have grown immune to it,” said Mangal Chaudhary, who lives near Laljhadi Mohana Conservation Forest.
“Though mesh wire was installed near the national park to keep them off by spending upward of Rs 13 million, the same has proved useless as mighty elephants fell the posts supporting the wire and entered our fields and damaged crops,” lamented Shuklaphanta Municipality 3 Ward Chairperson Jagata Rana.
A version of this article appears in print on December 13, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.