Dungna Gewog farmers seek solutions to wildlife woes

Dungna Gewog in Chhukha boasts favourable climatic conditions conducive to cultivating a variety of crops, with rice as its primary focus. Nevertheless, farmers face challenges in the form of human-wildlife conflicts. Despite its remote location, the gewog has yet to receive the installation of electric fencing, a measure widely used in rural areas to keep the wild animals at bay.

Dungna is located about a hundred kilometres from Phuentshogling. The place is suitable for growing a variety of crops.

However, like other remote places, the encroachment of human-wildlife conflict is becoming increasingly worrisome. People said it is disheartening to lose their hard-earned produce to wild animals.

“People here rely on agriculture for their livelihoods. They put in a lot of effort, but unfortunately, their hard work often goes to waste because they can’t fully harvest their crops. They end up losing them to wild animals,” said Lobzang, Dungna Gup.

“Having an electric fence would be incredibly beneficial for us. Right now, even when we stay up guarding the crops all night, we still lose them when we doze off even for a moment. We’re counting on the current government’s pledge to assist us with the installation of electric fence, so our hopes are pinned on them,” said Namkha, a resident of Dungna Gewog.

“The most common problem we face is with wild boars. They target and destroy our paddy fields, and no ordinary fence seems to deter them. I believe only an electric fence can provide the protection we need. I’ve been losing my paddy to wild boars for several years now. It’s disheartening to see all our hard work in growing the crop go to waste when they destroy it right before harvest,” said Yangki, another resident of Dungna Gewog, Chhukha.

“We have the potential to grow various crops here. But being a remote area, human-wildlife conflict poses a significant challenge. People work hard during the day, only to have their efforts destroyed overnight. The government promised last time to provide us with an electric fence, so we’re placing our hopes on them,” said Tshering Nidup, also a resident of Dungna Gewog.

Gewog officials said that people have been requesting the gewog to install such fences. However, the gewog could not afford the fencing.

“Even though it would greatly benefit the people, what matters is the budget. We’ve made plans and estimates, but our budget is just not sufficient. We wouldn’t be able to a small area also even if we were to invest our entire budget,” added Dungna Gup.

Around 150 households in the gewog depend on agriculture.  The villagers remain hopeful that their sleepless nights guarding the crops from wild animals will soon come to an end if the government fulfils its pledge of providing them with electric fencing at the earliest.

Kinley Dem, Chhukha

Edited by Phub Gyem

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