Dozens killed in wildlife attacks across the countryGovernment figures show human-wildlife conflicts and casualties are increasing.
People have continued dying and getting injured in wildlife attacks throughout the year in different parts of the country. This points to the growing conflict between humans and wildlife.
According to the data compiled by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Authority, more than three dozen people were killed in wildlife attacks in the past one year.
As per the Authority’s statistics, as many as 37 people were killed and 192 injured in animal attacks in the last year (April 13, 2020 to April 13, 2021). The authority works towards minimising risk of natural and human-made disasters.
“People dying in animal attacks is also a kind of natural disaster as this is the outcome of a conflict between nature and humans,” said Anil Pokharel, the chief executive officer of the authority. “Therefore, we have been maintaining data on human fatalities and injuries related to wildlife attacks.”
As per the data, the country recorded 243 incidents of animal attacks in which property worth Rs7.5 million was lost in the one-year period. Besides, as many as 15 livestock were also lost to such attacks last year.
“The data shows that the country is suffering significant losses to wildlife attacks,” said Pokharel. “This could also be due to an increasing conflict between wild animals and locals. For instance, such attacks have increased in Bardiya, where the tiger population has gone up.”
The authority’s data, however, does not include any details on the types of animals involved in these attacks or the damage caused by particular species. However, recent reports suggest tiger attacks have gone up markedly in the Bardiya National Park and the adjoining forest areas.
Since mid-July, a total of 10 persons have been killed in tiger attacks that took place inside the Bardiya National Park and its buffer zone. These people were killed when they had either ventured deep into the park or were cutting grass in the adjacent community forests.
Last September in Chitwan, two locals were fatally mauled by tigers in two separate incidents within a span of two days.
“Amid increasing tiger attacks in Bardiya, we found that locals were even setting fire to small patches of vegetation in their attempt to scare away the animals,” said Pokharel. “But such practices are causing another natural disaster — wildfires.”
Meanwhile, data maintained by the Home Ministry show a total of 27 people were killed and 120 injured in wildlife attacks in one year between April 14, 2018 to April 13, 2019. These numbers further soared in the following year.
A total of 40 persons lost their lives and 181 suffered injuries between April 14 2019 to April 12, 2020. The property losses to wildlife attacks in the two years were estimated at Rs5 million and Rs 6 million, respectively.
“The increasing deaths and injuries show people are still not taking the human-wildlife conflict seriously and are not taking the necessary precautions,” said Pokharel. “They should avoid venturing into the jungle alone and mornings and the evenings are especially dangerous because these are the times when the animals are more active. If one must go to the forest then it should be done in groups and one should always remain on alert.”