Wild elephants terrorise Sindhuli villagersLocal units say they lack technical manpower and budget to counter elephant raids
A deafening silence has gripped Bir Bahadur Magar’s house in Patiparan, Sindhuli. There are six members in the family but they hardly speak to one another. Bir Bahadur and his five children are in deep mourning after a wild elephant killed his wife two weeks ago.
The marauding tusker had attacked the 35-year-old victim at Ratujhora while she was returning home from a nearby marketplace.
“We had been living in terror of wild elephants for some time now. And now I have lost my wife. I don’t know how much longer we have to live in this fear,” said Bir Bahadur.
Three wild elephants have been wreaking havoc at Patiparan in Kamalamai Municipality-8 for the past two months. Locals say the animals enter the village to eat their crops and sometimes they tear down homes and attack people.
“Since the authorities concerned have not paid any concern, we have been having to deal with this problem on our own. But there’s little we can do to prevent the elephants,” said Bir Bahadur.
Wild elephants would occasionally enter the village from the Chure forest region in the past. Their movement has been quite frequent in recent years.
Tara Kumari Majhi, another local, has been staying in a poorly built hut after a herd of elephants destroyed her house a few weeks ago.
“The elephants destroyed my house and ate the maize planted on my land. We will have nothing left to eat if this continues,” said Majhi.
According to her, yearly she harvests around 100 Dokos (traditional bamboo baskets) of maize from her field. This year, she collected two Dokos of maize as a result of wild elephant raid.
“We cannot live in terror forever. The government should either control the elephant menace, or give us the option to relocate to a safer place,” Majhi demanded.
The local representatives say that they lack the technical manpower, technology and budget to control the wild elephants.
The Division Forest Office also say that it cannot do anything to prevent the elephants from entering human settlements.
“It is a natural phenomenon. The elephants enter the settlements in search of food and water. The locals will have to try and stay out of the elephants’ way,” said Ram Sharan Gautam, the information officer at the office.