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Jumbo menace rattles villagers near India-Nepal border

Residents of at least half a dozen villages in Champawat’s Tanakpur are spending sleepless night due to marauding herd of wild elephants in the region that forage through standing crop and fruit orchards

dehradun Updated: Apr 15, 2018 20:35 IST
Villagers say that they are forced to stay awake at night to drive away the wild herds to save their crops and dwellings.
Villagers say that they are forced to stay awake at night to drive away the wild herds to save their crops and dwellings.(Photo for representational purpose)

Residents of at least half a dozen villages in Champawat’s Tanakpur are spending sleepless night due to marauding herd of wild elephants in the region that forage through standing crop and fruit orchards.

Villagers say that they are forced to stay awake at night to drive away the wild herds to save their crops and dwellings.

Over the last one year, residents of villages in the region, including Thwalkhera, Khetkhera, Gaindakhali, Naya Goth, Kakrali gate, Uchauligoth and Bastia lived in fear of a tiger that was reported to roaming the region surrounded by dense forest on one side and the other by the India-Nepal border.

Four women from the Kakrali gate, Thawalkhera, Naya Goth and Bastia were allegedly mauled to death by the big cats in less than a year while collecting fodder and firewood in the forest, villagers say.

This apart, villagers have lost a number of livestock that fell prey to the big cats, some of them say.

Following the increase in the incidents of man-animal conflicts in the region, forest officials placed cages and camera traps to catch the big cats in Sharda and Boom range but have failed to capture the tiger, villagers say, and add that forest officials do not respond to their desperate calls for help.

Satish pandey, a villager, says, “Whenever we inform the forest officials, they don’t turn up in time to chase the elephant herds so we ourselves, have to ward off the animals by beating drums and utensils or bursting crackers.”

“The forest watch and ward staff do not patrol region.”

Tanakpur sub divisional officer Rajesh Srivastva, however, says that the villages fall in the periphery of an elephant corridor, which starts from the Rajaji Tiger Reserve to the western parts of Nepal.

“Movements of pachyderms along the villages that fall on the elephant corridor are considered quite common.”

He, however, says that the elephants do not enter the villages in search of fodder as it is in abundance in the forest.

“Elephants by nature migrate from one place to another are known to destroy whatever comes on the way as it is the behavioral instinct of elephants.”