Victims of wildlife attack outside buffer zone in Chitwan National Park area covered by community insurance policyThe national park does not provide compensation to victims if the incident occurs outside the bufferzone.
Man Bahadur Tamang, 94, a resident of Badrahani in Chitwan was killed in an elephant attack on February 14 this year. He was grazing his buffaloes in the forest area of Khorsor, a popular elephant breeding centre in Chitwan, when a male tusker attacked him, according to his 73-year-old wife Aaitimaya. She had little hope of receiving compensation for his death since Khorsor, where the incident took place, lies outside the Chitwan National Park’s buffer zone. The government bears the treatment expenses of those injured in wildlife attack within the buffer zone and provides a relief of Rs 1 million to the family in case of death.
However, she received a relief amount of Rs 1 million last week under the community insurance programme launched for locals outside the buffer zone in the initiative of the local government and organisations working in the conservation sector.
Aaitimaya is the first person to get relief for the death of a family member in a wildlife attack outside the buffer zone. “I am very relieved to have got the compensation amount,” she said. “Earlier, people like us had no hope of receiving any such relief.”
A total of 656 people are currently living in Badrahani. The locals, a majority of them farmers, have around 500 domesticated animals.
Jitu Tamang, chairman of Baghmara Bufferzone Community Forest Users’ Committee, said that the life, livestock, crops and the houses of all Badrahani residents have been insured since October last year and the locals will get compensation as per the insurance policy. “The family of the insured will get Rs 1 million in case of death in an animal attack and get up to Rs 100,000 for treatment for injuries. The beneficiaries will get the insurance amount no matter where the incident occurs,” said Jitu.
A total of Rs 725,680 was spent for the insurance scheme of the 149 households of Badrahani. Half the amount was provided by the World Wildlife Fund Nepal and Green Forest Programme while Ratnanagar Municipality and the consumers’ committee of Baghmara and Mrigakunja community forests provided the rest.
According to Jitu, people of Badrahani are killed by wild animals every year. Many of them are killed while going to the forest in the Khorsor area to graze animals and collect fodder and firewood.
“The locals stand to benefit from the insurance programme. Such programmes will also be extended to other villages in the area,” said Jitu.
According to the Chitwan National Park, five to 25 people are killed by wildlife in the park’s buffer zone area and its surroundings each year.