By Indira Aryal
Kathmandu, Nov. 5: At least four people have lost their lives in tiger attacks in Bardiya district within 10 days. The deceased were found nearby the Bardiya National Park (BNP) and community forests.
On October 31, a 62-year-old man was killed after a tiger attacked him in Rajapur area of Beruwa Gaunpalika. Lahanu Tharu was killed as he was taking his oxen to graze in the private field in the area. On October 22, a tiger attacked and killed Ganga Khatri, 26, of Madhuwan Municipality-3 in Bardiya, who was cutting grass at the time.
Similarly, on October 27, two people were killed in a tiger attack in Bardiya’s Belzhundi Community Forest in Dhanaura in Madhuwan Municipality-3. The deceased were identified as Umesh Chaudhary, 29, and Dinesh Chaudhary, 26, of Madhuwan Municipality-3.
Route connecting Bardiya National Park to Kartaniyaghat Forest in India passes through the forest.
Dinesh was attacked by a tiger while he was searching for Umesh, who had gone missing along with some other friends in the morning, in the community forest. As soon as his friends came back to the village, a team of security personnel rushed to the forest to find him, according to officials.
According to Bishnu Prasad Shrestha, conservation chief of BNP, cases like this are unexpected within the national park and the community forest area. Unable to determine whether or not they were eaten by the tiger, CC cameras have been installed in the area to identify the tigers. “Lahanu Tharu was attacked by a tiger in the National Park buffer zone but the rest were killed in the forest area of the district,” he said.
He added that a technical team comprising of five elephants and veterinary doctors had been mobilised in the field shortly after the incident.
Mahindra Wagle, Forest Officer at Division Forest Office in Bardiya, said that four people had been killed in tiger attacks in the forest area within this fiscal year, and that it was still unknown why tigers attack them, so they were mobilising a technical team in coordination with the National Park and National Natural Conservation Trust. A total of 13 cameras have been installed in the area to track the movement of tigers. Movements of two tigers were recorded on October 31 and November 1 but they were different tigers. It is hard to determine if the tigers recorded were man-eaters or not because they were recorded on different days in the same area, he said.
“A lot of private lands are covered with grass and trees, so tigers might come there in search of food. They don’t want to get disturbed while they are hungry,” Wagle said.
Earlier, tigers used to be active during the night, which is why such attacks were known only during that time, but now incidents are happening in the day-time. So, there must be problems in their habitat, he informed.
The victims’ families will receive a compensation of Rs. 1 million each. The National Park has provided Rs. 50,000 to the family of Tharu to carry out his last rites. According to the 2018 census, there are 235 breeding tigers in Nepal.
Chitwan National Park with 93 tigers, is the largest habitat of big jungle cats. Bardiya is the second largest with 87 tigers. Banke National Park is home to 21 tigers, Parsa to 18 tigers
and Suklaphant National Park to 16 tigers.
– The Rising Nepal