Chitwan National Park
Chitwan National Park is a preserved area in the Terai Lowlands of Nepal, known for its biodiversity. Its dense forests are known as a (charkose)and grassy plains are home to rare mammals like one-horned rhinos and Bengal tigers are a major attraction. The park shelters numerous bird species, including the giant hornbill, mammals and famous for Butterfly.
There are 10 national parks, 6 conservation areas, 3 wildlife reserves, 3 Ramsar sites and a hunting reserve in Nepal which are dedicated to the protection of wild lives and environment. One of the 10 national parks is the Chitwan National Park which covers 3549 sq km.
Chitwan National Park is Nepal’s first national park established in 1973 and is also a world heritage site and recognized as one of the worlds’ biodiversity hotspots. It habitats various species of wildlife. Some major species found are
• Around 700 species of fauna.
• 43 species of mammals- Bengal tiger, one horned rhino, wild elephant, wild boars, deer, etc
• More than 500 species of birds.
• Various species of butterfly.
The park is more famous for the protection and increase of Bengal Tigers and One Horned Rhino. For the protection of such endangered animals, Nepal Army has been deployed from 1975.
In 1996, an area of 750 sq. km. surrounding the park was declared a buffer zone which consists of forests and private lands. The park and the local people jointly initiate community development activities and manage natural resources in the buffer zone.
The major conflicts happening in Chitwan National parks are as follows.
• The conflict between government agencies and periphery villagers. Villagers were totally dependent on the forest for fuel wood, fodder for their animals and other numerous wood related issues. National park does not allow them to collect requirement from the forest and resulted in conflict.
• The poachers are one of the main problems for a conservation of wildlife. The high cost of horn and other organs of rhino and skin and other organs of the tiger in the international black market attract poachers for their hunt.
• The invasion of wild animals, mainly wild elephant, rhino, and tiger in villages kill many people and destroy crops every year.
• Local people try to catch fishes from the river.
• Tourists and vehicles used to disturb the wild animals.
• The decrease in forest area and deforestation has put further pressure on wild animals.
• The government is on the way to provide alternative means to the surrounding villagers. They should provide basic requirements by the government and educated about the benefits of protection of environment and wild animals.
• The poachers and people related to the trade of such wild animal organs should be punished through hard law. The strength of Nepal Army should be increased to the level they can effectively guard the national park.
• There should be structures constructed to restrict wild animals entrance to the villages, one idea can be electric fencing which has started recently.
• The people in the vicinity should be provided agricultural knowledge and soft loans so that they don’t depend on forest and river for a living. Tourism can be another income source for the people.
• The pressure of the tourists should be kept at a level not to hinder and disturb wild animals.
• After the deployment of Nepal Army, a forest has been effectively protected and this should continue in upcoming days.