Tshering Namgyal | Kurtoe
In Lhuentse, the farmers of Kurtoe Gewog not only lose their crops to the wild animals but the predators like common leopard and wild dogs prey on domestic animals.
Kurtoeps say that they lose hundreds of birds, dogs and cattle to wild predators every year besides losing acres of crops like maize and paddy.
A Dungkar resident, Sithar, said he was left with only a chicken out of 16 he brought last year.
Residents say that every year they lose more than 200 birds to the common leopards, besides dogs, and foals.
“Within no minute they tear the iron mesh out or remove the planks and snatch the hens out. It is no different for dogs. They are picked up from the doorstep any time,” a Tabi resident, Peldon, said.
She said that egg had become a scarcity in the gewog.
There is also a huge potential for dairy farming but not many dairy groups exist in the gewog.
People say that they also lose more than 50 cattle and horses in a year to wild dogs, and said they no longer release them to the nearby jungle.
“Even if they are tethered near the farms, the wild dogs attack them. If you are not nearby and vigilant, you will not even find a carcass,” former Dungkar tshogpa, Sangay Tshering said.
People claim that more than 50 animals released on Tshethar in the nearby jungle were also lost to wild dogs.
Gewog livestock extension supervisor, Ugyen Dorji, said there were now no farmers who keen on starting large scale dairy and poultry farms in the gewog.
The entire Kurtoe gewog falls inside the Wangchuck Centennial National Park (WCNP), the largest national park in the country.
“We have been asking the farmers to share information about crop depredation and number of animal casualties from the wild predator; but aren’t getting any,” Park Ranger Dorji Wangchuk said.
He added: “If the correct and timely information during such incidences is received, the data could be compiled and submitted to work out conservation measures.”
Farmers say the issues were raised but did not get incentives.
“After our requests were ignored, we stopped informing,” a resident said.