A 14-year-old killer elephant is terrorising settlements in central Tarai districtsYamagaj roams Parsa, Bara, Rautahat and Makawanpur districts and has killed five people over the past six months.
PARSA, MARCH 26
Local residents of central Tarai districts are living with constant fear after a wild elephant has gone on an increasingly violent spree. The 14-year-old male elephant, which was named Yamagaj by conservationists, has killed five people over the past six months.
Yamagaj has been wreaking havoc mainly in Parsa, Bara, Rautahat and Makwanpur districts. According to the Parsa National Park, the elephant killed two people in Bara, two in Rautahat and one in Makawanpur. The pachyderm is currently roaming around Jangalsaiya area of Rautahat. It killed a woman who went in the forest to collect fodders in Rautahat last week.
Surya Khadka, the information officer of Parsa National Park, said that Yamagaj has appeared in various places in four districts from Rautahat to Makawanpur over the past 10 months. “It stayed in Parsa National Park most of the time,” Khadka said. “Now it is roaming around in the national forest areas outside of the national park.”
Yamagaj came to the national park area for the first time this year from the east. According to conservationists, wild elephants arrive up to Chitwan National Park through Jhapa and Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve in June-July and return to the same area in winter. However, Yamagaj and two other elephants are still roaming in the central Tarai districts.
“Five wild elephants, including Yamagaj, arrived in the Bara-Parsa areas this year. Only two of them returned to the east. Three elephants are still in the area,” said Ashok Ram, former chief of Parsa National Park who did his doctoral degree on elephants. “There is a possibility that these elephants may permanently stay in the forest areas of Rautahat, Bara, Parsa and Makwanpur.”
Yamagaj moved to Jangalsaiya area of Rautahat from Tangiyabasti area of Bara recently. Conservationists are clueless whether the elephant will return to the west again or to the east. “We cannot predict whether the elephant will stay in the forest areas of Rautahat, Bara and Parsa or return to the place from where it came,” Khadka said.
The local residents in the area are worried, fearing the possible attack of Yamagaj. “It seems that Yamagaj stays in the area permanently,” said Subas Shrestha, the ward chairman of Jitpur Simara Sub-metropolitan City-21 in Bara district. “The locals feel unsafe as the elephant has been increasingly violent.” Shrestha urged the authorities concerned to control the marauding elephant.
The conservation authority does not have any immediate plan to dart and control Yamagaj. “We already severed off both of its tusks with an objective to make it peaceful but it did not work,” said Khadka.
The violent elephant was named Yamagaj as it killed a woman in Amalekhgunj, Bara on the eve of Yama Panchak, the Tihar festival that fell in October last week in 2022. The victim went to the forest area to herd her goats and cattle. After the incident, a technical team from Chitwan National Park cut off its tusks.
Yamagaj also caused trouble in the Parsa National Park. The conservationists had a tough time protecting the tamed elephants of the park from violent elephants. Yamagaj used to visit the place where eight captive female elephants of the national park were kept in Amalekhgunj. It tortured the captive female elephants and whisked away their food. The park administration had no alternative to shift the captive elephants to Rambhauribhar of Bara.
“The park’s elephants were again shifted to Pratappur of Makawanpur as Yamagaj reached Rambhauribhar areas as well,” said Khadka.