Human-wildlife conflict – still a major issue in Trashigang

Despite implementing various measures to address the issue, one major problem still confronted constantly by farmers in Trashigang is the problem of the human-wildlife conflict.
Almost all the gewogs in Trashigang that depend on agriculture reported damages of crops and plants mainly by wild boars, monkeys, porcupines, and deer, besides crop diseases.
Rangjung in Shongphu gewog has now started to report cases of wild boars and monkey, which residents say was never the case before.
Currently, the district has been facing issue of wild boars damaging maize crops and this is the case so in almost all the households in the district. Farmers say they already have to deal with issues of pest and disease on maize crops, besides the wild animals.
Phuntsho Dorji, a farmer in Shongphu gewog said the issue of wild boars started three years and the damages then were not severe.
But recently, he said the issue has become a major problem and they have to guard the animals staying awake at nights.
He said during the day the birds damage their crops and vegetables and at night the wild boars break their farm.
“We, a group of 14 people, tried to chase the boars, but they seem to be brave enough and they also come out during the day occasionally,” he said.
Last year, farmers here lost most of their crops to the wild animals and almost 30 households have lost their maize to wild animals.
Phuntsho Dorji said he lost his maize to wild boars and had incurred a loss of Nu 30,000 last winter.
And though he had complained to the Dzongkhag office, he said he was informed that they would not be provided with electric fencing as he was informed that all the fields of farmers should be together to do the fencing.
“Moreover, Rangjung is considered as a town. I was also informed that only villagers get such an opportunity.”
Another farmer said his maize field had been destroyed completely by the wild boars despite guarding the farm.
“Though the fencing was done properly, the wild boars damaged the crops and almost 30 sticks of maize plant had been destroyed,” he said, adding that further damages may happen in the coming days.
Sources said that the reason for wild boars and monkeys reaching downhill now was because people living at higher altitudes had now left their land fallow and also because of the practice of rural-urban migration.
Agriculture official of Shongphu gewog said villages are provided with electric fencing and those households who did not receive it in the previous year will be provided this year.
The official said people do not take care of the property and ask for another fencing saying that “the previous ones are damaged”.
Also, people are advised to take pesticides from the gewog office, but the official said they do not pay attention.
“When their crops are damaged by pests and diseases, they ask about the pesticides which become too late,” the official said, adding that people rarely take note of their advice.
Another farmer, Norzom from Bartsham gewog said every year they face human-wildlife conflict, but the use of electric fencing had helped to manage the problem.
“Electric fencing is not a complete solution as we still experience the issue of wild animals,” she said, adding that the entire maize crops are lost to disease this year.

Tenzin Lhamo from Trashigang