A herd of seven elephants rampaged maize and saplings in a nursery farm in Bhur, Gelephu on the night of July 5. A maruti car was also damaged.

The owner of the Green Bhutan Nursery, Birkha Bahadur Gurung, said the elephants entered his farm around 1.30am and destroyed five green nets that housed seedlings, a store, fencing, 200kgs of turmeric, pineapple, over 100 avocado seedlings, chap seedlings and other ornamental flowers.

He said that although there is electric fencing, it was not functioning for the last few days, as lightening damaged the energiser and they are waiting to replace it.

“It was really difficult to chase them away,” he said. “This kind of rampage is a threat to human life.”

After damaging the nursery, the herd entered the maize fields of a farmer in Bhur.

his is the third elephant rampage complaint Gelephu forest division has received this year.

The same herd had damaged crops in Chuzargang gewog earlier this year.

A forest ranger, Singye Wangchuk, said it has been almost a month now that the herd has been encroaching areas around Gelephu town.

He said the herd is mostly found spending days and nights in the teak plantation area between Gelephu town and Pelrithang. “We’ve been cautioning travellers to be careful.”

He said that among the seven elephants, two are calf because of which the herd is not able to move far.

The forester said that at least six staff, equipped with weapons, patrol around the villages every night. “The situation is difficult. Despite the foresters’ untimely duty, it is least effective in chasing them away.”

He said elephants are now used to their frightening technique.

Singye Wangchuk also said that the number of elephants keeps increasing every year causing more damage.

He said around September and October, there are more damage reports when crops ripen. “That time our farmers also need to take initiative and be vigilant.”

Nirmala Pokhrel/Tsirang