Nima Wangdi

Himalayan black bears are rampaging houses in Chebesa village of Lingzhi gewog in Thimphu, breaking into houses and feeding on ration stocks.

A highlander, Rinchen Dema, 38, claimed she lost a substantive amount of rations to the bear. “It also damaged furniture and kitchen utensils.”

She said that of the two houses she owns, the one used as a store is thoroughly damaged, including the roof. “Bears dragged rice and flour bags after feeding and even five men couldn’t stop them.”

Rinchen Dema said the bears have been breaking into her house for the last 11 nights. “On November 11, the bear broke into her house twice, at 7pm and 11pm.”

She said bears become aggressive when people tried to pelt stones.”I lost 13 bags of rice, two bags of flour and Nu 35,000 worth of dried yak meat so far.”

The mother of three said human lives are also at risk too as the bears keep on invading houses in the village.

She said while it’s a lone bear most of the time, there were two occasionally.

Rinchen Dema said she reported the incident to the foresters in the gewog.

Highlanders said bears usually attack livestock and people in the village and the conflict is worsening over the years.

Gewog officials said that the season for bear rampage in the village has just started. “People need to be cautious about moving around in the nights,” a gewog official said.

He said bear attacks in the village increased in recent years. “Enraged villagers killed a bear inside a house and a bear mauled a man in another incident.”

The official explained that after the villagers killed the bear, Jigme Dorji National Park electric fenced the villages, but bears still come into the villages.”

He said there would be more cases in winter when people in the village descend to lowlands leaving their houses locked.

Meanwhile, Rinchen Dema said the bear attacked almost all the houses in the village.

There are around 34 households in Chebesa.

Edited by Tashi Dema