Indian wild elephants go on rampage in Kurigram villages

Photo shows damaged crops after a herd of 25-30 Indian wild elephants go on a rampage in three villages under Char Rajibpur union of Kurigram’s Rajibpur upazila for three days since 7 January 2023.
Prothom Alo

A herd of 25-30 Indian wild elephants have gone on a rampage in three villages under Char Rajibpur union of Kurigram’s Rajibpur upazila for three days since Saturday.

Locals said the herd of elephants enters Bangladesh territory on Saturday night crossing Rowmari and Razibpur borders. The animals launched mayhem in Baulpara and Jalchira villages of Rowmari upazila for an hour, damaging mustered and maize fields and shallow machine. At one stage, several elephants were separated from the herd and attacked homes. Later locals terrified the herd, lighting troches, the herd then went to the Indian territory, crossing barbed-wire fence.

Wild elephants also crossed border on Sunday and Monday night and entered Bangladesh territory. The animals attacked crops land and houses on Jalchira, Baulpara and Miapara villages. The herd of elephants damaged wheat on about 200 decimals of land and mustered and wheat on at least 50 decimals of land.

Zarina Khatun, wife of Azam Mia from Baulpara, said, “I awaked up in the dead of Saturday night hearing the noise. Then I saw an elephant breaking the fence of our house. I along with my five-year-old daughter fled to neighbours’ house. The elephant broke the fence of our house and damaged three mounds of paddy.”

Shah Ali, from Baulpara, said, elephants damaged wheat on 22 decimals of his land and mustard on 15 decimals of land. Villagers were patrolling at night to escape from elephants’ attack.

Rajibpur union parishad (UP) chairman Miron Mohammad said, “Farmers are seeking protection from elephants' attack. I have informed the commander of Border Guard Bangladesh’s (BGB) Balimary company. BGB members helped farmers chase away the elephants on Monday night.”

“In fact, everyone is helpless. Since shots cannot be fired at these wild animals, villagers set up patrolling with torches,” he added.

Speaking to Prothom Alo, Balimary camp BGB commander Md Zubayer Hossain said it is the responsibility of the forest department to drive away wild elephants. Yet, BGB visited the area after being informed and assisted locals to chase away the elephants at night, he added.

Replying to a query on whether Indian Border Security Force has been informed about the wild elephants, Zubayer Hossain said, “BSF knows about it as they open the gate of barbed wire fence when the herd of wild elephants emerged from the forest, and these animals then enter Bangladesh.”

“However, I have informed the higher authorities including the forest department,” he added.