After local’s protest, Koshi Tappu’s elehants shifted to Bhagalpur17 people of Kushaha and Jutwan were killed in elephant attacks in the last two years.
Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve has shifted five elephants to Bhagalpur Post in Udayapur district following a pressure campaign launched by the villagers of Koshi Rural Municipality.
The villagers have long been exerting pressure on the reserve authority to move the Hattisar (elephant stables) away from their settlements due to frequent elephant attacks on human lives, crops and homes.
Elephants, particularly males, tend to become violent during mating season and enter human settlements, destroying crops, houses and even killing people, according to some villagers.
To put an end to recurrent elephant menace, the people of Koshi Rural Municipality had formed a struggle committee to put pressure on the reserve authority to shift the Hattisar.
Ayub Ansari, chairman of the rural municipality, said that 17 people of Kushaha and Jutwan settlements were killed in separate elephant attacks in the last two years.
“Around 14,865 families live at the reserve’s buffer zone, and they all are at risk of elephant attacks,” Ansari said. “We had to prioritise human life to the conservation of wildlife. Every year, the residents of Kushaha(West) suffer from elephant menace.”
On Monday, a stakeholders’ meeting was held at the District Administration Office, which decided to shift the stables to Bhagalpur for the time being.
The people of Koshi Rural Municipality had demanded that the elephants be moved to the national parks in Bardiya or Chitwan.
Ramdev Chaudhary, conservation officer at the reserve, said shifting the stables was not a solution to stop elephant attacks.
“We have been planning to mobilise security personnel and employees of the reserve to limit the harm caused by wild elephants. The meeting has also decided to compensate victims’ families immediately.”
Out of 17 indigenous wild elephants in the reserve, nine are males. According to the data of the reserve, seven people were killed and 27 sustained injuries in separate elephant attacks in the last fiscal year.
Officials said that the local unit should help them construct a permanent wall along the buffer zone area to mitigate human-wildlife conflicts. “This will lower the risk of wild animals attacks,” said Chaudhary.
The reserve, which spreads over an area of 175 sq km in Sunsari, Saptari and Udayapur districts, was established in 1976.