Choki Wangmo | Dagana

In the last one year, 10 households from Nichula gewog in Dagana lost 210 cattle to miscreants across the border in Assam, India.

Since the 1970s, Nichula residents used Chakramari, which is 400 metres away from the Assam border, as pastureland, but villagers said grazing is not safe anymore.

A villager, Sasee Maya Rai, recently brought her livestock back to the village.

Of about 60 cattle in the herd, she lost about 30 cattle.

She said that in the past, herders could travel across the border to bring their cattle, but due to border closure in the last three years because of the pandemic, it was difficult.

Another villager, Bishnu Maya Rai, lost 15 cows from her herd.

She said that although there were cow herders to look after the herd, it was challenging to guard and look after the animals due to porous border.

Her younger brother is now looking after the remaining herd in their village at Daragoan.

Another villager, Dhan Kumari Rai, lost 26 of her cows.

“Most are local breeds but such losses have affected sufficiency in livestock products.”

A villager from Dangrabu, Kumar Karki, lost 22 cows in the last one year.

He said that without other pasturelands in the area, they have no other alternatives. “We are not allowed to cross the border and the people from across the border take advantage of it.”

He said they steal their animals knowing villagers cannot come after them as there are border guards.

Nichula gup Nima Wangchuk Sherpa said that although no one knows who stole the animals, residents reported losing their animals from their pastureland.

Dagana National Council member, Surjaman Thapa, in his last constituency visit explored measures to lease government land to the herding community in the gewog.

“We discussed providing people with high breeds like jersey to increase production,” he said.

Nichula gewog in Lhamoidzingkha drungkhag is the only gewog without motorable road connection. The gewog grows fruits and vegetables but the human-wildlife conflict is rampant in the area.