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Himalayan black bear and two cubs trapped in Lhayul chiwog

A female Himalayan black bear and her two cubs have been trapped inside an electric fencing in Chudzom gewog’s Lhayul chiwog in Sarpang for the last two weeks.

Farmers of the chiwog say the bear and her cubs entered their maize field on August 6.

A group of 15 farmers tried chasing the animals out of the electric fencing but failed.

Villagers say the bear changed its direction after seeing the electric fencing.

The whole of Lhayul chiwog has been electric fenced. It runs about 18kms in length.

Tshogpa Monorath Dahal, said the bear and her cubs should be rescued or relocated soon. “Otherwise, it might attack cattle and humans.”

He said it poses more risk for students who walk to school from the village.

The dzongkhag forestry division has been informed of the trapped bears.

Chief forestry officer, Phub Dhendup, said the division is taking time because the movement and behaviour of the bear need to be studied. “We deputed our beat officer in Chudzom gewog to study its movement and hideouts during the day and night.”

He said that although the bear being trapped inside the chiwog was confirmed through its footprint trails inside the farm, not many farmers have seen it.

“It could not be confirmed whether the mother bear was with one or two cubs.”

Farmers, however, told forestry officials that there are two cubs.

Phub Dhendup said a team of officials including a veterinary doctor and a group of foresters would leave for Chudzom with equipment such as a tranquilliser and a cage.

“The team will attempt to tranquillise and catch the bear,” he said. “If the bear needs any treatment, the bear will be brought to the wild animal rescue centre in Jigmeling.”

He said that chasing away the bears from the electric fencing opening may not work because the bear had already felt the shock because of which it has not been able to move out. “A female with cubs is dangerous. We need to carry out rescue operation carefully.”

Meanwhile, according to the tshogpa, the bear hides in the bush near the village and comes to eat crops at night.

“The closest the animal had come to the human settlement was yesterday night when it ate maize near a farmer’s cowshed and at the backyard of another farmer in the chiwog,” Monorat Dahal said. “On an average, it eats at least four bags of maize.”

Nirmala Pokhrel | Tsirang

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