Wildlife facing threat as waterholes dry up

By Our Correspondent

tigerNepalgunj, July 3: Drying up of water sources has posed a serious threat to wildlife in the Banke National Park, the youngest national park of Nepal. 

With the onset of summer, majority of the water sources inside the Banke National Park (BNP) are gradually drying up and water crisis has become a threat to the existence of the wildlife, the BNP informed.
The national park was established some nine years ago for the expansion of the habitat of tiger. Number of tigers has crossed 21 in the youngest national park.
Chief Conservation Officer of BNP Yuva Raj Regmi said since this national park is connected with the Bardia National Park, tuskers from Bardiya National Park walk through the BNP.
However, there are no rivulet, pond, lake and wetlands in the BNP from where these wild animals could get water, he added. “Water scarcity has accelerated the movement of animals outside their habitat in search of drinking water.
This has increased the incidents of human-animal clashes and human and animal casualties,” said Regmi.
According to him, the national park is also a habitat of spotted deer, deer, antelopes, wild boars, leopards, nilgai deer and bears.
Regmi said the non-swimming animals need more water to drink. However, only 26 artificial ponds have been constructed in the national park that stretched over an area of 550 square kilometres.
All these ponds dry up during the winter, said Regmi, adding that territory of the national park requires at least 55 ponds and these ponds must serve drinking water during all seasons.
According to the BNP, the canal of the Sikta Irrigation that flows through the national park is also not feasible for the animals to consume water.
In the course of drinking water, some spotted deer have drowned in the canal, added Regmi.
He further added that many animals which walked out of the national park in search of drinking water were attacked and killed by the humans.
He informed that the national park was jointly carrying out a study with the irrigation project for the construction of structures in the canal so animals could consume water easily.
A small portion of the Rapti River flows through the middle section of the BNP, while there is a Babai River in the border of the national park.
There are possibilities to bring water inside the national park from the Bheri diversion constructed in the Babai River.
Only rivulets flow through the national park, but in the rivulets water flows only in the monsoon. “The wildlife of BNP has been affected as the district has not witnessed rainfall this monsoon and water from the artificial ponds is drying up.”
There were no proper sources of water for the wildlife, said Regmi, adding that almost 60 per cent of the national park lies in the Chure and Bhawar regions.
Though water resource has been found in Chure region, habitats of the majority of wild animals are in the Bhawar region, said Regmi.
“There is an urgent need to identify locations inside the BNP and construct artificial ponds,” he added.

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