Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing

The lone elephant, which has been causing havoc at Khandrothang (Mecheytar) village in Norbugag gewog, Samtse has returned again destroying areca nut trees and cornfield.

It has been marauding and damaging crops since last year.

More than two weeks ago, residents used an excavation machine to dig a trench and chase it away. But it has found another route, residents said. Residents say something must be done about it because its presence is discouraging farmers from cultivating paddy this time.

A resident, Dorji Chogyal, lost 11 areca nut trees on June 1 and May 31 night.

“Last time, about a month ago, it destroyed six trees,” he said. “No matter how much we try we are unable to chase it.”

Another villager, Dola Prasad said 50 percent of his cornfields have been destroyed.

“Everyone, including the foresters and the gewog officials are trying their best to chase it but it has not worked,” he said.

Dola Prasad said the least villagers would expect from the government is the seedlings or saplings replacement for the destroyed crops.

Khandrothang tshogpa, Samir Acharya said that the elephant was at Jogidara yesterday.

“This one is a lone elephant and doesn’t fear people,” he said. “We are trying everything. Forest officials have also done their best but it is not working.”

Samir Acharya said that many people will not cultivate paddy this season if a permanent solution is not found soon.  It can waste an entire paddy land in just one night, he added.

Karma Wangzin, another resident, said it has been about four days since the elephant has returned again.

“Although the gewog and foresters are trying, it has become difficult for them as well. We need higher authorities to look into this.”

In Samtse, Norbugang and Tashichholing gewogs have been facing problems with elephants. Many people have left their paddy fields fallow.

“On one hand, initiatives to cultivate fallow lands are encouraged but the incidents of elephants destroying farmers’ crops have been only increasing,” a resident said.

Meanwhile, foresters placed a tracking collar on the elephant on June 2.