Nepali villagers fear wild animals wandering outside national park

At least five people were killed and six injured in the Gardi-4 subdivision in Nepal's Chitwan district, after being attacked by wild animals straying outside the Chitwan National Park (CNP) in the past seven months.

This has also caused nine familes to move out of their villages, while those who remain dare not go out of their houses at night.

In December last year, a wild elephant named Drube wandered into some of the villages neighbouring the national park and caused panic after it killed a man and a couple, and damaged thousands of rupees worth of property and crops.

After villagers took to the streets demanding that the animal be put down, the Nepalese government launched a hunt for it, but was unable to find it. The elephant's whereabouts is still unknown.

Other wild animals have also since become a menace to locals.

Jen Kumar, chairman of the Bote ethnic society, said that a Bote villager named Somal was killed by a wandering rhinoceros last week.

Somal was fishing at the Rapti river when he came face-to-face with the rhinoceros.

In an earlier incident, another villager named Gore Chhetri was attacked by a wild bear and died after being rushed to the hospital.

Gardi Village Development Committee secretary Indra Prasad Kafle said that many villagers have moved to live in other areas further away from the park out of fear of being attacked.

Only those who cannot afford to move away are left behind.

CNP chief conservation officer Kamal Jung Kunwar said that the national park's committee was finding ways to prevent the wild animals from entering the villages.

"One solution would be to set up electric fences around the villages," he said.

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