Plundering tuskers terrorise townspeople

Menace: A herd of about 30 elephants entered Gelephu’s municipal area and rampaged cattle shed and banana trees on the night of August 4.
A team of 38 people, including forest officials, police and volunteers, escorted the tuskers back into the forest. However, they are believed to have not gone very far.
“We used blank firings to chase away the elephants,” said range officer Singye Wangchuk. People were asked to inform the team if the animals return. So far, though, the team has not received any call from anyone.
Harka Bahadur said that he could only stand and watch as elephants began tearing down his cattle shed and banana trees. “Here, animals come in large gangs. We can hear them do destruction, but we can’t do anything. We do not have weapons to fight them.”
He said that this is the first group of elephants that has entered the community and that government should look into the matter. “People’s lives are at risk.”
Forest officials said this is the first time elephants have entered the municipal area. This, they said, could be because of electric fencings in other areas.
“Most of the gewogs in Sarpang have electric fencing. Electric fencing for Gelephu has also been proposed,” said an official.
A resident of Namkhaling, Chimi Wangmo, said that she had heard about elephants coming to the village and destroying crops, but it was her first time seeing elephants in a large group.
“I could not sleep for the whole night. I kept worrying that they might come back and destroy houses and crops,” said Chimi Wangmo.
By Yeshey Dema, Gelephu

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