Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Villages under siege by herds of wild elephants

Village residents in Thapeikyin township along the Ayeyarwady River say they have faced recent attacks from wild elephants.

“At 11 pm on  July 3, our village was spoiled by some five wild elephants. They destroyed houses and harmed the villagers. An old man aged of 68 years is now hospitalized after he was hit by the trunk of an elephant. The villagers are very frightened now,” U Maung Naing from Kyaut Kwal village told The Myanmar Times on July 4.

U Kyaw Htay, the 68-year-old, was initially taken for medical treatment in Kyar Inn Sit Hospital and was moved on July 4 to the Neuro Medical Department at Mandalay Hospital.

“He is now better in Mandalay Hospital,” his son Ko Myint Naing said on July 5.

The residents said they have kept their villages guarded in order to threaten the wild elephants by shouting at them with torches and fires as the animals usually raid the villages in herds or individually by night.

Kyaut Kwal, Kyaut Gyi, Ohn Pine and Ohn Takuu villages are the areas worst affected by attacks from the wild animals.

“A few days ago, some wild elephants entered Ohn Pine village and they destroyed crop fields. But no one was injured. We are getting in trouble,” U Ko Lay told The Myanmar Times.

The villagers from affected areas said they have had to reconsider their crop-growing strategies as they fear danger from the wild elephants.

“We have given education about wild elephants to the inhabitants. We asked them just to threaten by shouting but not to fight the animals with weapons such as knife, stick or catapult. We also instructed not to pick bamboo and bamboo shoots that exist in the grazing area for the elephants,” said the administrative spokesperson of Thapeikyin township.

Officials from the Wildlife and Forestry departments, as well as respective ward administrators, inspected the spoiled villages. The farmers said they would prefer to receive the required assistance as quickly as they can.

Translated by Zar Zar Soe