Electric fencing at KTWR to ensure safety of people living in buffer zone

Published On: May 20, 2019 05:00 AM NPT By: Amar Khadka

ITAHARI, May 20: In the fourth week of November 2017, two people died in the buffer zone of the Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve (KTWR) after being trampled by a rampaging wild elephant. The deceased were identified as Bechanidevi Sardar, 55, and Devakidevi Sardar, 45, of Koshi Rural Municipality-3. Both had died on the spot.

A few months later, Rabilal Urau of Srilanka Tapu in Barahakshetra Municipality met the same fate. Oftentimes, the people living in the villages lying in the KTWR buffer zone are prone to wild animal attacks. In fact, wild animals have terrorized them. The people living here can't even have a sound sleep at night fearing attacks by wild animals.

These animals do not just threaten their safety but also attack and damage their houses and crops. KTWR sprawls in a total area of 175 square kilometers. A few years ago, the local authorities had built electric fencing in a large area starting from Kushaha to Prakashpur of Sunsari to prevent wild animals from entering human settlements.

But that did not help much as wild elephants still managed to enter the settlements by felling large tress and thus damaging the fencing. As the terror of elephants and wild buffaloes grows in the buffer zone with every single day, the reserve administration has decided to make the fencing stronger.

For the safety of people, an electric fencing is being laid along a 14-kilometer stretch from Prakashpur to Bhantabari of Sunsari and a 5.5 kilometer stretch in Saptari. Ganesh Tiwari, assistant warden of KTWR, informed Republica that the fencing will be completed before mid-July.

Reportedly, Rs 10 million is being spent on the fencing in Sunsari and Rs 3.2 million in Saptari. "No human casualties due to animal attacks have been reported in the current fiscal year so far," said Assistant Warden Tiwari, adding, "After the completion of the fencing, people living in the buffer zone won't have to fear their safety."In 2004, the government had declared a total area of 73.50 square kilometers including 215 settlements near KTWR as a buffer zone. Altogether 84,423 people live in this area. In fiscal year 2017/18, six people died due to the attacks by wild elephants while 18 were injured. In the previous year 2016/17, too, as many people died after falling prey to various animals.Records show that from 2009 till date, altogether 12 people have died in the buffer zone due to animal attacks. During this period, a total of 33 people were injured in attacks by wild buffaloes. Currently, there are 419 wild buffaloes in KTWR. Last year, 13 buffaloes were transferred to Chitwan National Park.

In fiscal year 2017/18, the government distributed a total relief amount of around Rs 10 million to the victims whose houses and crops were damaged by the animals of KTWR. Meanwhile, in the current fiscal year, the government has already paid Rs 10 million in compensation so far.

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