Elephant menace continues unabated in eastern Tarai districts
Binod Bhandari, The Kathmandu Post
December 3, 2023
Wild elephants have continued wreaking havoc in eastern Tarai districts of
Jhapa, Sunsari and Morang. Three people were killed by the tuskers over the
past two weeks while crops planted in hectares of land were damaged and
houses were dismantled in the area.
A forest watchman of Ranakali Community Forest in Hardibari Rural
Municipality-3 of Jhapa was killed by a marauding wild elephant. The
tuskers entering Haldibari settlement attacked 40-year-old Dhan Bahadur
Ban. The victim died on the spot, said police.
On Thursday, Rabin Khadka of Itahari Sub-Metropolitan City-2 in Sunsari
died in a wild elephant attack. According to Superintendent of Police in
Sunsari Nabin Singh Bhandari, the tusker attacked Khadka, aged 25, while
the villagers attempted to chase away wild elephants from entering the
Meanwhile, two weeks ago, another man, Padamlal Tamang, had died in an
attack of wild elephants at Hamsedumse Community Forest in Damak
Municipality-3, Jhapa. The elephant attacked the victim while he was in the
forest to collect firewood. Deceased Tamang was a Bhutanese refugee who
stayed in sector B2 hut No 252 of Bhutanese Refugee Camp in Beldangi.
As per the data available at the District Police Office in Jhapa, as many
as six people were killed by wild elephants in Jhapa alone in the last
fiscal year of 2022-23. Likewise, two people from Sundar Haraicha
Municipality of Morang died the same year.
Morang does not have human casualties by wild elephants as of now in the
current fiscal year of 2023-24, said Bishnu Ghimire, chief at the Division
Forest Office in Morang. “However, the herds of elephants uprooted houses
and damaged crops planted in hectares of land,” he said. According to him,
the elephants that entered Morang from Humsedumse forest of Jhapa have been
terrorising locals in Jante, Letang, Miklajung, Kerabari, and Sundar
Haraicha, among other places, in Morang now.
Every year, wild elephants from India enter Nepal through Bahundangi of
Jhapa. According to conservationists, Bahundangi and its surrounding areas
are the corridor for elephant movement. Studies show that elephants from
Assam and West Bengal in India travel up to Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve in
Nepal through Bahundangi.
Experts say that instances of human-wildlife conflict are recurring because
of the encroachment of the bio-corridor by humans over the years. “The
elephants enter human settlements as they do not find enough food in the
forests. They eat crops in the fields and even food grains stored in the
house,” said Ghimire.
According to Ghimire, more than 30 wild elephants are roaming around in
Jante, Letang, Miklajung, Kerabari, Sundar Haraicha currently. Wards 6, 7
and 8 of Miklajung Rural Municipality that borders Jhapa district are the
most affected by the elephant menace. Kaseni, Khamejhoda, Katale and Betani
settlements of Miklajung-6; Mawadagi of Miklajung-7; and Mawa Toribari of
Miklajung-8 are the hardest hit by the elephants.
“People generally prepare to go to bed after having evening meals. But we
locals in Miklajung have to patrol the areas with flaming torches on hand,”
said Kishor Niraula, a local of Kaseni in Miklajung. “We haven’t been able
to sleep for the past three months as we have to remain vigilant to keep
the elephants away.”