Elephant menace in Shuklaphanta

Elephant menace in Shuklaphanta

Residents of Garjmuni in Shuklaphanta Municipality-5 faced a challenge as they attempted to deter a herd of elephants from entering the paddy fields before nightfall, despite implementing various measures.

Over the past three days, more than a dozen elephants from Shuklaphanta National Park have persistently damaged the nearing-harvest wheat crops belonging to local farmers. Jit Bahadur Saud, the ward member of Shuklaphanta-5, reminisced about a time when elephants would retreat in response to fire, noise, and the clatter of tin, but these methods proved ineffective this time.

Despite sounding sirens and setting off crackers in an attempt to scare away the elephants, they remained undeterred. After foraging in the fields and consuming the wheat crops, the elephants eventually returned to the national park. Jit Bahadur Saud lamented the annual damage caused by elephants to their paddy and wheat crops.

The marauding elephant herd wreaked havoc on wheat crops cultivated on land ranging from two kattha to 10 kattha land, with locals reporting that a group of 15 elephants, including three cubs, devoured and trampled the crops.

Malti Pal, a resident, revealed the challenges they face in protecting their fields, stating, “We have to stay vigilant all night to ward off elephants. They don’t leave until they’ve had their fill, and there’s a constant fear of property damage, compelling us to remain awake.”

Despite the recurring damages inflicted by elephants each year, locals voiced their grievances, asserting that they have yet to receive any compensation for their losses. The severity of the issue is underscored by the fact that, over the last three years, four individuals have lost their lives in elephant attacks within the municipality.

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