A 34-year-old farmer who was attacked by an elephant in Khamethang chiwog in Phuntshothang gewog on May 21 has been discharged from Samdrupjongkhar hospital.

Hospital officials said that the victim was discharged because apart from bruises on the lower back, he did not suffer major injuries.

The victim was attacked while he along with his brother and some villagers were trying to chase away the elephant that had come near his house at 4:30am on May 21.

He was referred to Samdrupjongkhar hospital the same day. Phuntshothang is 71km from Samdrupjongkhar.

Phuntshothang Gup Jamyang Gyeltshen said the elephant had entered the village around 11pm on May 20 and had attacked stores and banana trees of some households.

“Fortunately, he didn’t attack any house or people, which is why most villagers didn’t know about the elephant,” the gup said. “By the time the elephant reached the victim’s house, it was around 4:30am.”

The gup said that when he saw the elephant in front of his house, he shined the torch on the animal’s face and called other farmers. Along with other farmers, he then chased the elephant away.

“The elephant suddenly returned and started chasing the farmers. While four farmers managed to jump off the road and his brother escaped, the victim couldn’t.”

When the elephant attacked the victim, the brother tried to distract the elephant from behind which allowed them to escape the attack.

Another elephant also attacked crops in Mindupling village on May 22 but no one was harmed.

Although this is the first incident of an elephant attack in Khamethang chiwog, the village is faced with human-wildlife conflict all through the year.

“Although the chiwog has 7km solar fencing, this has not stopped elephants from entering the village and destroy the crops, especially during the harvest season,” the gup said. “Since the village is located near the forest, it has become easier for elephants to enter the village.”

The gewog, which has six chiwogs, has solar fencing but the villagers have to often battle with elephant attacks, according to the gup.

This is the second such case where an elephant attacked people in Samdrupcholing dungkhag.

An elephant killed a 67-year old farmer in Pemathang gewog on April 28 this year.

Yangchen C Rinzin