A marauding wild elephant wreaks havoc in HandikholaThe elephant from Parsa National Park has been on the loose for the past few days.
A marauding wild elephant of Parsa National Park has been wreaking havoc in human settlements in Handikhola, Makwanpur, for the last few days. Handikhola falls inside the national park’s buffer zone.
According to locals, the male tusker entered the settlement on Saturday. Since then, the elephant has been chasing villagers and destroying houses and properties at night. It is the same elephant that killed Maiya Thapa on Monday, a local, while she was cutting grass with her daughter in Meldanda.
“Our lives and properties are in danger. The national park should immediately take action to prevent such instances from happening again,” said Nabin Kumar Regmi, a local. According to him, the elephant entered his house as well and ate his stored paddy. “We don’t know when it will enter the settlement again. We have to constantly be alert, for fear of the elephant returning,” he said.
Binaya Kumar Jha, a ranger of Lamitar Sector of Parsa National Park, said the elephant was seen in Rajaiya a few days ago. “Locals of Rajaiya chased the elephant towards Handikhola area and has been spotted there. This elephant has already killed a woman and destroyed houses in Handikhola,” said Jha. According to him, park officials are making efforts to bring the elephant under control.
Because of the elephant’s menace, Bir Bahadur Ghalan, ward chairman of Manahari Rural Municipality Ward No. 2, said the residents of the ward are unable to sleep at night. “The elephant already destroyed three houses and ate paddy here. Now, the elephant has moved towards Goganghari forest,” said Ghalan. According to him, three houses in the ward have been completely destroyed.
The park officials are seeking ways to lure the elephant back into the park area according to Amir Maharjan, chief conservation officer of the park. “We have been closely observing the movement of the elephant with the help of Nepal Army soldiers, police and a team of the national park,” he said. The park has sought permission from the Department of National Park and Wildlife Conservation to install a radio collar on the elephant for monitoring purposes. “A technical team from Chitwan National Park will help our team to dart the marauding elephant to install the collar,” said Maharjan.
Ashok Ram, who is also a PhD scholar on elephants, said there are around 234 wild elephants across the nation, and they frequently enter human settlements, giving rise to conflict. According to him, 43 wild elephants are in Parsa, six in Saptari and two in Bara. “They enter villages when they cannot find food and water in the forest,” said Ram.
To curb wildlife movement outside the park area and to mitigate human-animal conflict, Parsa National Park has constructed a 14.5 km-long electric fence.
According to the park authority, a 9.5 km fence has been constructed from Basantapur Area Forest Office to the western part of Oriya Khola and another 5 km fence from Oriya Khola to Panitanki Road.