By Rabindra Upreti,Bardibas, Sept. 9: In the northernmost region of Mahottari, bordering Sindhuli, residents are living in fear due to a surge in wild animal attacks. The situation has become increasingly perilous as tigers have ventured from the forest into the area, targeting livestock in local cowsheds.
Wednesday night brought terror to Betal village in Bardibas-10, as a tiger entered the village and claimed the lives of four goats owned by Krishna Bahadur Lopchan. Now, the entire village is gripped with anxiety, dreading the prospect of another potential attack.
Prior to this, there were suspicions that a leopard had been behind previous attacks. However, the recent incident, which resulted in the simultaneous loss of two goats, one buck, and a kid in a single incident from Lopchan’s pen, has intensified concerns regarding the potential presence of a tiger in the area. This incident occurred in a remote northern area approximately 33 km away from Bardibas.
Bir Bahadur Waiba, a neighbour of the Lopchan, pointed out that the footprints discovered at the scene and the distinct signs of the attack strongly indicate the involvement of a tiger.
As per the accounts of villagers, wild animal attacks in the village have been escalating about every two to three months.
Lopchan had maintained a total of 45 goats in his pen. However, as the pen has increasingly suffered damage from wild animal attacks, he is now expecting a shift in his business.
Wild animals have not only posed a threat to Lopchan and Waiba but have also become a menace to the entire village. Rita Waiba, another neighbour, revealed that she had stopped livestock rearing in response to the rising occurrences of tiger and leopard attacks in the area. “Why bother with pets anymore? If a leopard comes, they’re gone instantly. I stopped rearing them to stay free from the pain,” she said.
The issue of wild animal attacks extends beyond Betal village. Locals report that settlements in Ward No. 3 and 4, situated in the northern Chure region near Bardibas, are also grappling with the same problem.
The locals said that the forests in the areas of Raimandal Danda, Bhim Danda, Tin Jhoda, and Solighopte Danda are safe habitats for wild animals like tigers and leopards.
According to Karna Bahadur Pulami, a resident at the base of Raimandal Danda, a leopard attacked and killed his two goats and two castrated goats, each weighing 40 kilograms, while they were grazing near the Bhabasi River. Before this incident, the leopard had also taken away his neighbor Chhatra Maya’s he-goats.
According to the locals, a tiger attacked and killed a buffalo belonging to Lal Bahadur Gole from Bardibas-4, Bardanda, while the buffalo was grazing in Tin Jhola near the Lakshmi River. The tiger also claimed the lives of eight goats owned by Ek Bahadur Jimba, who had taken them to graze in the same forest.
Pramod Moktan, the Ward Chairperson of Bardibas-10, has stated that efforts are underway to gather information and details at the ward level to provide relief to the families affected by wild animal attacks in the northern part of the settlement.
Moktan added, “Besides taking the lives of animals, wild creatures have inflicted further agony by consuming our cultivated grain crops.”
Krishna Kumar Patel, the Chief of the Sub-Division Forest Office in Maisthan, said that there was a legal provision for the government to offer compensation for damages caused by wild animals.
However, to avail of this compensation, the required procedures must be followed. But, compensation cannot be provided for incidents that occur within forest.