Increasing wildlife attacks are driving people from their homes in SalyanFamilies living in settlements near the Banke National Park say life has become unbearable as they cannot work in the fields or go to forests even during the day.
The residents of Haukhola, Aambas, Batule, Yang and other settlements of Kalimati Rural Municipality-7 in Salyan district have started leaving the villages due to the growing threat of wild animals.
According to the victims, the wild animals–mainly tigers, bears and wild boar–enter human settlements from the Banke National Park and attack humans and livestock, and damage crops. Salyan, a hill district in the Karnali Province, borders the Banke National Park situated in the Lumbini Province.
Many people have started leaving their villages for good amid increased tiger attacks on their cows, goats and even humans.
More than 200 locals in four settlements of Kabhrechaur in Kalimati-7 have been affected. They said while tigers kill their cattle, monkeys and wild boar destroy the crops. According to Nayansingh Rana, the ward chairman of Kalimati-7, around 100 families have already left their villages in the past three years owing to increased attacks by wild animals.
The locals complained that they are afraid to go to the forest for fodder and firewood even during the day due to frequent sightings of tiger, bears, boar and monkey troops.
“The increasing number of wild animals in the national park has made life difficult for those living in the buffer zones. School-going children are also not safe as wild animals roam the settlements day and night. There has been no attack on humans so far but animals enter our houses and kill our cattle. I am not sure for how long humans are safe,” Maan Singh Sunar, a local of Haukhola.
“Last week, a group of women who were going to the forest for fodder and firewood were chased by wild animals. They somehow managed to save themselves. People have completely stopped going to the forest and nobody stays outside the house after dark,” said Sunar.
There were 40 families in Haukhola settlement but 10 families have already migrated to another place due to the fear of wild animals.
“Humans are not allowed to kill any park animals because it is illegal. But now people are finding it unsafe to even work in their fields and the monkeys and boars destroy the crops. So how will we survive if we cannot grow food? And we are not allowed to fight back,” said Sunar.
“We are also planning to leave this place after I heard around half a dozen people were killed by tigers in the neighboring Banke. Maybe the animals come to villages in search of food. I lost my four goats to wild animals in the past one year. But the authorities concerned ignore our problems in the name of protecting wild animals,” said Nandaram Oli, another local.
According to Oli, a couple of days ago, a pair of tigers were roaming near the settlement and they killed our two goats. “We could hear our goats downstairs screaming for help but we could not do anything. We were upstairs and helpless.”
“Due to the current situation nobody goes outside at night, not even to the front yard. In case of a medical emergency at night, it is very difficult to venture out,”said Dhan Bahadur Budha, a local of Yang settlement.
“The locals are too scared to work in the fields and live in constant fear even at home owing to the fear of park animals,” said Nayan Singh Rana, Ward Chairman of Kalimati Village Municipality-7.
According to him, there are more than 500 households at Ward No 7 of Kalimati Rural Municipality. But they are all affected the wild animal terror. Locals said it will be difficult to even feed themselves if the animal terror continues.
“We cannot control the menace at the local level. We asked the Banke National Park and Division Forest Office, Salyan to do the needful to end the wild animal terror, but they have not done anything so far,” said ward chief Rana.