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Wild elephants in South Bhutan
Chhukha and Samtse - Tuskers torment Samtse
Marauding elephants, which have already destroyed 17 acres of maize plantations and few acres of ginger in Sipsu gewog, Samtse, are continuing to rampage through this southern gewog.

On 15 June 2008, elephants intruded into the renewable natural resources (RNR) compound in Belboty and ravaged fodder trees and, on the night of June 16, damaged two temporary classrooms of Peljoring middle secondary school (PMSS) in Peljorling village.

The beasts also ravaged maize growing in a 60 decimal area of the village.

The principal of PMSS said that this was the second time elephants had damaged school property. Earlier in January a group of wild elephants had completely destroyed one of the classrooms.

Wild elephants have become a nuisance to farmers in South Bhutan
The wild elephants, most of the time, come to the village at night. If the numbers are few, the farmers manage to drive them away using firecrackers.

According to a farmer in Hangay, this year the elephants started ravaging crops a month earlier than usual.

According to him, the elephants normally show up when the maize matures. "For the past week we've been spending sleepless nights guarding our farmland," he said.

The deputy range officer of the forestry services in Sibsoo, Passang, said that every night two officials are kept on duty patrolling the villages. "So far, other than the electric wiring, we don't have any other alternative deterrents, we just fire blanks to chase them away," he said.

The dzongkhag has assessed the damage caused by the elephants and submitted it to the ministry.

To prevent the jumbos intruding, the Samtse dzongkhag administration had installed a solar electric wire covering a total distance of around 10 km but, regardless of it, elephants manage to trespass. The situation is worse at this time of the year when farmers are busy with paddy transplantation work.

Contributed by Passang Norbu, Kuensel 2008

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