Human-elephant conflict goes unchecked in SirahaTul Bahadur Ale Magar, 74, of Golbazar Municipality-3, died in an elephant attack on Friday night. Elephants have killed eight people in Siraha in the past six years.
Bharat Jargha Magar
In the latest incident of human-wildlife conflict in Siraha district, a septuagenarian man was killed in an attack of a wild elephant on Friday night.
According to the Area Police Office in Golbazar, 74-year-old Tul Bahadur Ale Magar of Golbazar Municipality-3 died after being attacked by the marauding tusker late in the evening on Friday. The wild elephant attacked the victim near his residence at Gola Muksar.
According to Ghanashyam Ale Magar, Tul Bahadur’s neighbour, the incident took place when the victim, along with some other villagers, was going to attend a dance programme organised nearby to celebrate Nepali New Year.
Tul Bahadur, Harkaman Rai, Prakash Shrestha and Bam Bahadur Thapa had left home at around 10:30 pm to attend the cultural programme. “Minutes after leaving home, the wild elephant attacked us,” Rai said. “We ran away and survived the incident. But Tul Bahadur couldn’t run away from the pachyderm due to his old age.”
The victim’s body was sent to the Provincial Hospital in Lahan for postmortem, said police.
After the incident, the elephant entered the Budhi Jamadaha settlement in Golbazar-3 and destroyed three houses. According to the Area Police Office in Golbazar, the houses belonging to Bijay Paswan, Sano Paswan, and Tokan Paswan were destroyed by the elephant. They said they saved their lives as they fled timely after the elephant started demolishing their houses.
The locals of northern part of Siraha, a Tarai district in Madhesh Province, are living in constant fear of wild elephants. A lone elephant has been roaming in the area over the past three months. The pachyderm, according to the locals, enters the settlement at night. It attacks people, dismantles houses and destroys crops planted in the field, locals said.
On February 23, Dev Prasad Sadaya, aged 22, of the Jamdaha Purandihi settlement, was also killed by the same elephant. As per the data available at the District Police Office and the District Forest Office in Siraha, elephants have killed eight people and destroyed at least 80 houses in the district in the past six years.
Muksar, Jamadaha, Bano, Amahi, Mohanpur, Taregana, Lahan, Golbazar, Mirchaiya and Karjanha settlements are mainly affected by the wild elephants each year. According to conservationists, the Chure forests from Jhapa to Chitwan are the traditional corridors of wild elephants. Generally, the elephants pass through the Chure forests in Siraha during winter. It is believed that one of the elephants was left out of the herd and staying in the forest area of Siraha.
The local people have complained that the concerned authorities are indifferent to resolving the problem. “We cannot sleep well due to the elephant’s terror. We have to keep awake at night to chase it away by making a bonfire and beating tin,” said Thapa. He said the locals have repeatedly urged the people’s representatives and the government authorities to control the wild animal and protect people’s lives and properties but the problem has remained the same.