District Forest Office (DFO), Jhapa, has forwarded a process to create an ‘Elephant Corridor’ to reduce the terror of wild tuskers that has been a great nuisance and threat for the locals.
According to the DFO, most of the forests in the district are inhabited by elephants. So, the DFO has submitted a proposal to the Ministry of Forest and Soil Conservation to develop those forests as an ‘elephant corridor’.
According to the DFO, if the proposal is accepted, the ‘fight’ between the wild elephants and locals will no longer exist. Besides that, officials at the DFO said, it will also help in minimizing human casualty and infrastructural damage, and most importantly, no one will have to live with the fear of being attacked by the wild tuskers.
District Forest Officer Bodh Raj Subedi informed Republica that the corridor will start from Jalthal which will stretch to Charali, Devniya and Magurmadi of Mechinagar. According to Subedi, there are enough prospects for corridors which have enough rivers, food and other requisites. “Especially the forest at Jalthal is the most appropriate place for such a corridor,” he said.
“As of now, we have requested for a corridor which won’t cost more than Rs 2 million,” said Subedi adding “After the formation of the corridor, elephants will be enjoying in their own habitat which will be a great relief for the locals as well.” Every year, there are more than a thousand cases where Jhapa locals have to run for their lives as wild elephants storm into their villages and rampage through their fields.
As many as 30 people have lost their lives in elephant attacks in the district since 2010. The damage of infrastructure is no less. As per the details provided by the DFO, there are about 10 elephants in various forests of Jhapa.
It has been found that one of the elephants is blind which makes it really challenging for the DFO to take it under control. “So, we have decided to send it to the national park,” said Subedi.
The increasing deforestation has compelled the elephants to come out of the forests in search of food. “It will be better if we concentrate on preserving the habitat of wild animals which will ultimately reduce the threat to the locals,” said Subedi. Besides that, locals should not chase elephants, he added.
Family members of the deceased killed in an elephant attack receive Rs 500,000 as compensation while the seriously injured get Rs 100,000 for treatment.
Though locals in various parts of the district have constructed electric fencing to be safe from elephant attacks, that still has not reduced the threat.