Neten Dorji | Trashiyangtse

As her maize plants start bearing corns, Karma Wangmo in Senphu village of Toetsho gewog in Trashiyangtse spends sleepless nights guarding the field.

“We have to guard our crops day and night from wild animals like boars and monkeys,” she says. “We can’t leave the farm unattended and go home even for having meals as the animals constantly wait for the opportunity.”

Farmers in the village say that they lose half of their crops to wild animals every year.

The destruction of crops by wild animals has been increasing over the years, according to the villagers. They told Kuensel that they had lost all their hopes as they hardly reaped anything.

The village mainly grows maize, buckwheat and vegetables. More than half of the crops, the villagers say, are destroyed by the wild animals.

Another farmer, Dechen Wangchuk, said that with the damages increasing by the year, people have started to leave the village. “If the problem is not addressed, many will leave the village,” he said, adding that some of the villagers have bought land in the Sep area.

The gewog administration has provided electric fences to the farmers. However, the fences did not last long.

“The electric wires worked for a year and failed,” a mother, Jangchu Peldon, said. “The energiser and the charge controller function for a short period only.”

According to her, deer and porcupines also destroy crops in the village. “The porcupines dig holes in the ground and enter the field without touching the electric wire.”

Temporary sheds have been built at every corner of the fields for the farmers to guard the crops. The farmers beat tins and shout to chase the animals away.

“The monkeys do not fear us until we pick up pieces of wood,” one of the residents said.

Nangkhar-Sep tshogpa Tenzin Wangchuk said that although the electric fences were provided the pole did not last long. “The farmers are required to clear the bushes around the pole,” he said, adding that the poles would be replaced.

The tshogpa said that the human-wildlife conflict was a major problem in the chiwog.

However, he added, “The electric fences haven’t been of much use to the farmers.We need chain link fences to solve the problem.”