Phub Dem | Tsirang

Wildlife attacks on livestock and agriculture farms continue to be a significant problem for farmers in Haa and Paro.

While they are struggling to guard their apples and chillies against wild boars and bears, some villagers in Tsento lost about 20 cattle to wild dogs recently.

According to locals, a pack of wild dogs have been creating havoc in the village for a month now.

Kezang Choden from Mitsi, Tsento gewog lost three cows to wild dogs in a day. She said that two of her cows were expecting. “A week ago, the same pack killed some of my neighbours’ animals.”

She said that the villagers tried to chase away the pack, but the animals no longer paid heed to dogs and people. “We stopped sending our cattle to the jungle now.”

Towards dawn a week ago, wild dogs attacked some cattle in Lemchikha, and the same evening towards 3pm, they attacked Kezang Choden’s cattle.

Another farmer Chencho said that it was becoming difficult to herd animals every day as the task required extra helping hands. “If it is in winter, we will at least have stocked up grasses. We have to make use of expensive cattle feeds now.”

He said that he was cautious as he has eight cows left.

Locals fear sending their animals for open grazing in the forest unattended. Some say that if relevant agencies do not address the issue, it won’t be long until farmers stop raising cattle.

Kezang Choden reported the incident to the gewog office as the cases of the wild dog attacking cattle were becoming rampant, adding that she expected some help in chasing away the predator.

However, she said that there was no support from anyone. “It is so frustrating that sometimes I think of poisoning these predators. But I refrain from doing it only to save dogs and domestic animals from accidentally contacting the poison.”

The gewog’s livestock office has received complaints from three villages so far.

According to the extension officer, Sonam Rinchen, the office is compiling a report of the casualties and will be submitting it to relevant agencies.

Although compensation is less likely as wild dogs are not listed under protected animals, he said it could address further predation.

As highlanders of Paro are preparing to migrate their yaks to winter lowlands, Sonam Rinchen said that yak herders shared concerns regarding wild dog predation on yaks.

According to the records with the gewog livestock office, there have been a few wildlife depredation cases in the past, but this time, the office noted rampant cases.

He said that those animals registered with gewog offices were disposed of as it was unclean for consumption.

Except for reporting the incident to relevant agencies, he said that the livestock office does not have the capacity and budget for livestock depredation.

Edited by Tshering Palden