For the villagers of Chhungen chiwog at Phangyuel Gewog in Wangdue Phodrang, the threat of wild animals destroying their crops has been a cause of concern for years. A decade ago, it was wild boars and deer that wreaked havoc in their fields, but the installation of electric fencing in 2014 proved to be an effective solution. However, a new challenge has emerged in recent years. This time, it is the monkey which the electric fencing cannot keep at bay. Monkeys have been destroying crops and entering homes.
Every day, 63-year-old Kinley Tshering guards her fields from dawn till dusk. Today, her fields of wheat, buckwheat and mustard are almost ready for harvest.
She said although the chiwog has electric fencing, it is not effective when it comes to monkeys.
“Monkeys eat all kinds of crops, be it wheat, beans or buckwheat, they eat everything. Electric fencing is beneficial but not effective when it comes to monkeys. Even for lunch, we have to take turns as the monkeys destroy our crops,” said Kinley Tshering.
“When we are not at home, the monkeys enter our house and eat rice,” said Tsagay, a resident.
“I had to cut more than twenty orange trees, two peach trees and three pear trees near the house. The monkeys entered the house after eating the pears,” said Phub Lham, another resident.
“Monkeys enter our paddy fields. If we transplant the paddy saplings today, the monkeys uproot them the very next day. Earlier, we used to guard the crops from wild boars, but now we have to guard them from monkeys,” said Rinchen Dorji, the Tshogpa.
The Gewog administration is aware of the problem and is planning to propose some budget in the 13th Five-Year-Plan to procure Animal Intrusion Detection and Repellent System. It is a system that produces lights and sounds to deter animals from the settlement or villages.
“There is electric fencing to deter elephants from entering settlements in the southern districts. This has not reached our place. Since it will be a new system here, it might deter the monkeys from entering the villages. We are planning it as a pilot project this year,” said Kinley Dendup, Phangyuel Mangmi.
Since the area is located near forests, the villagers say one of the measures to address human-wildlife conflict is to clear the bushes and tall trees. Villagers say until now the forestry officials are not allowing them to clear those bushes.
There are around thirty households in the Chiwog.
Changa Dorji, Wangdue Phodrang
Edited by Tshering Zam
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