After being in Nepal for about two weeks it is time for an update! We arrived safely in
Bardiya and are getting more and more used to the Nepalese way of living. Last week we
had some free days, after we first got several days of introduction to our problemowner at
the office of the NTNC (National Trust for Nature Conservation) and to our workfield in
Geruwa & Bardiya National Park (BNP). These free days were due to Tihar, the hinduistic
light festival. The whole country was free from work and everyone was eating, relaxing and
partying. For us these day meant the perfect opportunity to explore our surrounding area by
bike and to get used to our lodge. It was also the perfect time to dive into the Nepalese
culture, with thika, traditional dancing and new habits as a result.
After these ‘resting’ days it was time to go full throttle. The last preparations were done
during Tihar and we were completely ready to start. After discussing our planning for the
coming months we went to the testsite to built down the fence and start luring elephants.
Our starting point was namely that elephants do not come to the testsite anymore, which is
the reason why we are not sure the current design is effective enough to stop the elephants
from breaking through. An afternoon of hard work was the result.
Now the fence is brought down we go to the testsite every day to add some extra food as
bait, to analyse the camera footage and to see whether or not elephants have visited the
testsite. In case this happens the elephants have to get used to the new ‘bar’ that the
testsite is and after some weeks we will place the fence again, to make the elephants try to
break the fence.
Next week another part of our project start: we will go to Geruwa (the area where the
elephant raids took place). There we will meet with the responsibles for the fence, educate
them in fence maintenance and electricity, and to catch up with the specific reasons why
the local people do not believe in the new fence design.
All together we started on the right foot and we are looking forward to the coming months,
now that the project has kicked off!
Flip, Thomas & Wessel