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Madhuban forests closed off to people over tiger attacks


Madhuban Municipality has prohibited local residents from entering Khata biological corridor and Samjhana Community Forest due to the rising number of tiger attacks.

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On Wednesday, a 29-year-old woman of Madhuban Ward No. 3 was killed in a tiger attack. She had gone to the community forest to collect fodder.

Ganesh KC, mayor of Madhuban Municipality, said his office has banned local residents from entering the forest and the biological corridor to collect fodder and firewood and graze their cattle.

“The movement of tigers has increased in the biological corridor. Madhuban, which also shares a border with Bahraich, India, has a dense forest cover along the border, heightening the risk of tiger attacks,” said KC.

In the current fiscal year, five individuals have already been killed in separate tiger attacks in the community forest area. “It is necessary to verify the exact number of tigers in Bardiya National Park and see if they are all being accommodated. We have also started raising awareness in the communities to minimise human-wildlife conflict. But forest and park authorities should also do more to protect the lives of people,” said KC.

Camera traps have been installed in various parts of the forest after the death of the woman on Wednesday.

“Eight camera traps were installed in the forest area. We are looking at ways to minimise human-animal conflict,” said Chief District Officer of Bardiya Santa Bahadur Sunar.

According to the data of the park, eight people have already been killed in separate tiger attacks in Bardiya.

“The park provides relief to the family of those killed in wildlife attacks. The families of those killed inside the buffer zone area are entitled to Rs 1 million as relief,” said Bishnu Shrestha, chief conservation officer at the park. “We also provide Rs 1,500 per month to single women and scholarships to the sons and daughters of the deceased.”

According to the count of 2018, there were 87 tigers in the park.

The residents of Bhagraiya in Ward No. 3 of Madhuban are terrorised by the growing number of tiger attacks. The villagers have stopped going out of their homes after 5pm.

“We do not even walk around the village alone for fear of being eaten by tigers. Our children are not allowed to go outside alone,” said Saraswati Sah, a local resident in Madhuban Ward No. 3.

Wild animals are found roaming around the Khata biological area and Katarniaghat Wildlife Reserve, say local residents. Madhuban residents do not travel along the 2km stretch of the Postal Highway from 10pm to 6am. The local administration has requested all travels be avoided on the road stretch after 6pm.

The residents of Dhanaura, Kothiyaghat, Khata and Bhagraiya of Khata biological corridor in Madhuban Municipality say they are frightened to walk around the villages even during the day.

“We close our doors and windows in the evening to keep wild animals out. We don’t walk out alone even during the day,” said Phularam Tharu, a local resident of Bipatapur in Madhuban Ward No. 3. “Last year, wild elephants had destroyed dozens of houses and damaged crops in Madhuban.”

Three months ago, a Border Out Post of the Armed Police Force was established in Madhuban. Asmit Chauhan, police inspector of the BOP, said that the movement of tigers has increased in this area.

“We have observed frequent movement of tigers here in recent days,” Chauhan said

Published : March 14, 2021

By : The Kathmandu Post/ANN