If you are looking for a jungle experience this monsoon, then Chitwan is where you should be headed to. Set right in the heart of Nepal down in the humid plains, Chitwan offers one of Asia’s best wildlife-viewing spots. These subtropical plains hide an array of wildlife worthy of The Jungle Book. Nature buffs from around the world come here to scan the treetops for exotic bird species and comb the jungles for rhinos and tigers from the backs of lumbering elephants. There’s plenty to keep you busy here, from joining the elephants at bath time to visiting local Tharu villages, and the brave can even take a guided walk through the jungle, surrounded by the hoots and roars of the forest. Read More
After five years of consistent efforts to increase their numbers, breeding of the endangered vulture species, Oriental white, a rumped vulture, in Chitwan National Park has begun to yield results. The breeding center with 57 young vultures received one new baby vulture this week.
“Conservation of rare birds and wildlife is essential. We hope the breeding center will give more good news,” said the chief of the park Kamal Jung Kunwar. “As the vulture population in the country and the world is critical, it was very important to promote the breeding of vultures,” he added.
The vulture breeding, which started at the national park in 2008, is a joint project of National Trust for Nature Conservation (NTNC), Department of National Park and Wildlife Conservation (DNPWC) and Bird Conservation Nepal (BCN). According to officer at the BCN, Jyotendra Thakuri, the news of first successful hatching is really great as the particular species of vulture is indeed very rare.
“The estimated number of white-rumped vultures in Nepal is just around 2000,” Thakuri said.
A study has shown that the number of the endangered vulture is stable in Nepal since 2009. But the study in 2012 did not rule out the consistent danger posed by banned drug Diclofenac (anti-inflammatory drug used by farmers). Vulture-free zones and involvements of locals in vulture conservation in Tarai districts since 2006 helped stabilize the otherwise fast declining population of vultures, according to chief executive officer at BCN. “The breeding center gives much hope in increasing the number of critically endangered species. We need to do a lot more in the conservation sector,” she said.
The 57 vultures kept in the breeding centers were collected from Kaski, Nawalparasi, Rupandehi, Kapilbastu and Dang. “They were young vultures incapable of breeding at the time. In five years since, they have grown and are lying eggs. Their population will grow, we hope,” Thakuri said.
source: republica, 24 Mar 2014
The Chitwan National Park has received an international award in recognition to its efforts for rhino conservation. The park had taken special measures to protect the one-horned rhino from poaching for the last few years.
The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has highly appreciated the measures adopted by the Park Administration to control rhino poaching, the Park Administration informed the journalists in Chitwan Thursday.
Yolanda Kakabadse, International President of the WWF, herself arrived in Chitwan and presented the award, said Tikaram Paudel, Spokesperson and Assistant Conservation Officer of the Park.
Similarly, the NA personnel, who are working in wildlife conservation in the Bardiya National Park, the Buffer Zone Management Committee of the Chitwan National Park, and National Trust for Nature Conservation were also awarded for succeeding to mark the year as a zero poaching period, said, Bishnu Thapaliya, Assistant Conservation Officer of the Park. The Investigation bureau of Nepal Police was also honored with the award.
The Chitwan National Park had marked 2011, too, as the zero poaching year, however, in the later two years, two rhinos were poached.
The Park released a data showing no rhinos were killed in the last 365 days beginning from February 16, 2013, though 10 of them died due to natural causes.
The Chitwan National Park is a special tourism destination to the domestic and foreign visitors because of the rhinos, tigers, wild elephants and crocodiles along with other animals and birds.
The Chitwan National Park alone has a total of 503 one-horned rhinos which is an endangered wild animal species in the world.
source: nepalnews.com, 06 Mar 2014
Infrastructure projects threaten to cut Chitwan National Park in half.
Chitwan National Park is a conservation success story. Since its establishment in 1973 the park’s populations of both Bengal tigers (Panthera tigris tigris) and one-horned rhinos (Rhinoceros unicornis) have quintupled, a success achieved during a time when both species have been under siege globally by poachers. A UNESCO World Heritage site, the park is also a vital economic resource for locals: last year the park admitted over 150,000 tourists who brought in nearly $2 million in entry fees alone. But all this is imperiled by government plans for a new railway that would cut the park in half and a slew of new roads, according to a group of international conservationists known as the Alliance of Leading Environmental Researchers and Thinkers (ALERT).
“Throughout the world, new roads and transportation projects are often the first step in the demise of wildlife. Once an area gets opened up by roads or railroads, poachers and colonists often invade,” says ALERT member Gopalasamy Reuben Clements, who studies the impact of roads on wildlife in Asia.
A leaked analysis by the Department of Railways evaluates two possible routes for the new railway, but each cuts through the park, according to a recent story in the Nepali Times. However, other solutions exist. One would be for the new railway to skirt the park entirely, following an already existing highway that runs East to West. But this option wasn’t included in the report, supposedly because it would be a longer route than simply cutting the park in two. Another, more dramatic solution would be for the railway to run underneath the park through tunnels, but this was dropped in the analysis due to cost.
“What will remain of the national park when we have trains passing across the protected areas in 10 years?” Chitwan’s Chief Warden Kamal Jung Kunwar told the Nepali Times.
But the railway isn’t the only big threat to Chitwan. A partnership between the Nepalese and Indian government is working on upgrading and adding eight new feeder roads (also known as service roads) for the Hulaki highway.
“There is no rationale for building a road or railway through one of the world’s most outstanding and successfully operating national parks,” Hemanta Mishra,a well-known local conservationist who played a role in establishing the park, told the Nepali Times. “A railway line and a road through the park without a comprehensive environmental and social impact assessment would undo 40 years of investment by the government, private sector, and the local community.”
International conservationists agree that both the proposed railways and roads could irrevocably change Chitwan for the worse.
“In terms of its spectacular richness of wildlife, Chitwan is the Serengeti of Nepal. It teems with over 700 wildlife species and has some of the largest populations of wild rhinoceros and tigers in the world,” says ALERT director, William Laurance, a professor with James Cook UNiversity. In addition to its tigers and rhinos, Chitwan is also home a number of other globally-threatened animals, including gaurs (Bos gaurus), four-horned antelope (Tetracerus quadricornis), mugger crocodiles (Crocodylus palustris), sloth bears (Melursus ursinus), Asiatic elephants (Elephas maximus), smooth-coated otters (Lutrogale perspicillata), hispid hares (Caprolagus hispidus), and the Critically Endangered gharial (Gavialis gangeticus).
“We urge Nepal to avoid high-risk mega-projects that could imperil Chitwan’s amazing wildlife and natural values,” Laurance says.
The Nepalese government has yet to make a decision regarding the new railway.
Source & References
Hance, J. 2014. Proposed rail and road projects could devastate Nepal’s tigers and rhinos. [online] 06 February. Available at: http://news.mongabay.com/2014/0206-hance-chitwan-rail.html [Accessed: 7 Feb 2014].
The population of birds in Chitwan is found to have increased by 4,046 in the past one year.
A census of the birds in the district showed that Chitwan is home to 14,078 birds in compared to the 10,032 recorded the previous year, according to Bird Education Society, Chitwan.
The number of water birds alone was found to be 6,795 in the new census, said Chairperson of the Society, Basu Bidari.
The census by the Society found 1,932 birds in Dibyanagar, 4,238 from Sauraha to Kasara, 528 in Budhirapti, 257 in Dungri khola, 202 in Lami lake, 52 in Tamor lake, 533 in Bishajari lake, 536 in Garud lake and 5,800 from Gaidahawa to Dungaghat of Sauraha.
However, three species of birds recorded in the last census was not found this time around, according to Bidari.
A total of 49 species of birds were recorded in Chitwan this year. The census was carried out between January 11 to 26 inside Chitwan National Park and nine different rivers and lakes of the district.
A total of 108 guides and boats had been employed to carried out the census coordinated by ornithologist Tikaram Giri. The Society carries out the bird census every year.
source: nepalnews.com, 28 Jan 2014
Single day entry permission to tourists in Chitwan National Park is limiting the tourist stay in Chitwan and adversely affecting the tourism income.
As National park is providing entry permission to tourists inside the National Park for a single day at once, tourists who want to stay more days inside the park are shortening their park activities, said Laxman Raut, a nature guide in Sauraha.
The increased park fee and single day permission system has adversely affecting the length of tourist stay in Sauraha, he said.
The park administration has increased the park fee per tourists of third country to Rs. 1500 from Rs. 500, those from SAARC countries to Rs. 750 from Rs. 200 and nationals to Rs. 100 from Rs. 20 around one and half year ago.
Sauraha is one of the main tourist destinations of Nepal after Kathmandu and Pokhara.
Another nature guide Tulasi Raj said that their income has been reduced significantly due to the increased park fee.
There are around 1000 nature guides taking license in the National Park out of which only around 200 are actively working as tourist guides.
Some of the tourist guides are operating their own business independently while some are working as employee in different hotels of Sauraha.
They used to earn on an average Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 15,000 per month by guiding tourists in various activities inside and around the National Park.
Tourists should be provided multiple days’ visa in National Park as in different trekking routes of the country, he demanded.
If the park administration gives the entry permission for multiple days, tourists would stay longer in Sauraha and it will increase our income and overall spending of tourist, he said.
As tourists feel uneasy to take park permission times and again for the same activity, they used to shorten their stay in Sauraha, he added.
Thousands of domestic and international tourists use to visit Chitwan National Park for recreation and soft adventure activities.
Main tourism activities offered to tourists in Sauraha are jungle walk, canoeing, elephant ride, bird watching, elephant bath, jeep drive, night walk, hill trek, tower night, village tour etc.
According to Raut, domestic tourists are mainly interested in elephant ride and canoeing while foreigners mainly interested to jungle walk, jeep drive and bird watching activities.
He informed that number of tourist arrivals have been decreased this year as compare to previous years. Specially, numbers of domestic and Indian tourists have been decreased this year, he added.
Number of Chinese tourists visiting National Park is increased in recent years, he stated.
source: gorkhapatraonline.com, 15 Jan 2014
The Chitwan National Park authorities have urged the Department of the National Parks and Wildlife Conservation to relocate a tiger in the park that has been entering human settlements repeatedly.
A tiger that was tranquilized and taken under control by the Park authorities from the Madi Ayodhyapuri settlement in early December was found to have returned to the same settlement, thereby prompting the authorities to request for its relocation.
The tiger however was again taken into control and released back to the national park.
The park authorities have proposed to the Department to relocate the tiger to Bardia National Park or to a Zoo.
A decision was taken to recommend relocation of the tiger after concluding that it would not be right to leave it inside the park after it was found to have been repeatedly going to same human settlement, said the Park spokesperson Tikaram Poudel.
As per latest census, Nepal is home to 198 tigers of which 120 are found in Chitwan National Park.
source: nepalnews.com, 04 Jan 2014
The Nepal Army has begun a special action to control the poaching of wildlife in the Chitwan National Park .
The Central Division of the NA said a special force of 200 army personnel had come from the Headquarters for the action.
According to Division Head Sundar Pudasaini, the manpower was now under training. It is the time the poaching is upped, so the special force was being mobilised, he said, adding various battalion and companies would also follow the special force.
The special action would remain watchful of the illegal activities on entry points. The special force equipped with ultra modern technology would continue till coming June.
The patrol would also be conducted from vehicles and by helicopter.
There are 503 rhinoceros and 125 spotted tigers in the Chitwan National Park now.
source: ekantipur, 28 DEC 2013