As dusk envelopes Kuenphel and Drupchu Goenpa villages in Lhuentse, women in the two villages prepare for the night ahead.
With wild boars, bears and deer rampaging their crops every night, they know it is going to be a hard and sleepless night again.
Rinzin Dema, 53, from Kuenphel village, said she has been staying awake and walking around her crops every night for more than a month now but has still lost crops to the boars that entered her field that morning. “I was feeding cattle that time.”
She said she knew the boars were rampaging her crops when she heard her dog bark. “By that time, they damaged the crops.”
The single mother said they depend on maize as one of the staple diets.
Another farmer, Kinley Sithup, 53, said that she has to work on the farms in the day and guard the crops at night, as her husband is not well.
The mother of three said that until the wild boars damaged her crops recently, she expected a good harvest this year. “But I worry if what we harvest will be enough to sustain my family.”
The women, who are tired from the day’s hard labour, say they doze off the moment they enter the makeshift hut and lay their head on the pillow. They prefer spending the night walking around and shouting to ward off the animals.
Tshering Choezom from Drupchu Goenpa said that even if she walks around the fields and shout the whole night, the boars attack the crops.
The 61-year-old woman’s husband is a laymonk and he is in Thimphu for the Kanjur oral transmission in Kuenselphodrang.
She said her children are away and they ask her to stay with them. “But there is no one to look after the house and land.”
Tshering Choezom said she lost more than 30 to 40 percent of her crop to bears. “I fear it will attack me too.”
She said her children sent around Nu 50,000 to install electric fencing around her fields. “I hope it will help me.”
The village tshogpa, Deki Yangzom, said wild animals damaged crops belonging to 11 households last week.
She said that after she inspected, she reported to the gewog agriculture extension officer.
The gewog agriculture extension officer, Phurba Dolma said that although it was the first reported human-wildlife case this year, it is rampant in the locality. “I have verified the complaints and will submit the report to the dzongkhag administration.”
Tashi Phuntsho | Lhuentse