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September 3, 2020

Sheep sheds far away from Coronavirus pandemic

Khamal Khatri



Sheep sheds at outskirt of Myagdi’s Dhawalagiri rural municipality 5 and Raghugangma rural municipality-8, on the border of Chayamali base camp (Ruwachor). There are more than a dozen of sheep sheds in this region.

Beni: Sheep sheds are made on the top of highly elevated plain grounds. Dhaulagiri Himal seemingly stands before your eyes, if you look around from this Sheep shed. The adjoining hills also look whitish with the sheep herds. Him Bahadur Chhantyal (Devan) has been deeply engrossed in sheep rearing for the last two years.

Near the base camp of Dhaulagiri lies this spot Ruwachor which provides attractive base for the sheep shed. Chhantyal has followed his ancestral occupation of sheep rearing after renouncing his two years job experience abroad.

Chhantyal who was born at Dhaulagiri rural municipality-5 Malkabang has his families stationed in Pokhara, while he has given up his urban life to return to his ancestral home, where he could rear sheep to adopt his ancestral traditional life style of living in jungles and sloppy regions.

The curfew orders of urban life and world’s Coronavirus pandemic has not affected the life routine of Chantyal and his sheep sheds that are located far away from the town life.

It’s daily routine work to wake up early in the morning, milk the sheep, cook food, eat and take the shepherd to the grazing land. Forty years old Chhantayal who has seen the modernity and fast developing world of Singapore and Malaysia has already gained experience of rearing sheep in Pokhara and now finally engaged himself with the rustic routine of pastoral life.

Neither there is any facility of phone nor any internet. His world is surrounded by dense forest and hills all around. He has no worries about rain or about hailstone and hard life.

But, Chhantyal forgets all his difficult circumstances as he sees the beautiful natural beauty around him and the sheep moving around him. He descends to the town to fetch food, and then only he knows what’s going around the world. But as he returns to his traditional life style, he again forgets about the outside world.

Chhantyal who started rearing sheep by investing his hard earned five million rupees now has over 500 sheep. He has taken this traditional occupation of sheep rearing as a challenge and opportunity for him. He has two more employed workers to look after the sheep.

He said, “Our ancestral and traditional occupation of sheep rearing is on the verge of extinction as many of us are giving it up and the new generation is not taking it up as new occupation. This Dhaulagiri rural municipality area has a good scope of rearing sheep, therefore I adopted this occupation”.

He also said that the government should pay attention to protect and preserve this occupation which is disappearing.

Dogs guarding Sheep shed
There are at least two dogs to guard one sheep shed. Dogs are the friends of Sheep. Dogs have the main responsibility of protecting the sheep from the attack of wild animals. Dogs of Bhote breed are usually tamed to look after the sheep because this kind of dogs have hoarse voice and can even fight with wild animals like tiger. Dogs keep moving along with the sheep in the day time and come back with the sheep in the evening.

Businessmen reach the sheep sheds

Businessmen these days reach the sheep sheds in the far flung areas to purchase the sheep. Since buyers reach the sheep shed areas there is no problem for marketing says Chhantyal. As many as 200 sheep are sold annually and Chhantyal is encouraged to follow this occupation.

Risk of poisonous grass and wild animals

There is a problem of poisonous grass and attack of wild animals while rearing sheep said Chhantyal. Wild animals like panther, leopard and fox may come and attack sheep by evading the eyes of the dogs and kill the sheep.

Occasional thunder and presence of poisonous grass can be another lurking danger for the sheep said Chhantyal as several sheep may die after eating these harmful grasses annually and since there is no medical facility in the rural areas there is difficulty in the treatment of such illness.

Demand for encouragement of sheep rearing

Farmers engaged in sheep rearing in Dhaulagiri of Myagdi, Malika, Raghunga and Annpurna rural municipality have demanded that sheep rearing should be encouraged and continued from local, provincial and federal government. As many as 50 people of Myagdi are now rearing sheep and the whole district has around 20,000 sheep reared at the moment.

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