Death due to negligenceOur callousness is a threat to their existence more than they will possibly face from natural causes.
Animal conservation has seen a surge in interest, and the awareness concerning animal rights has aided the administration’s efforts to provide care to endangered species here in Nepal. The country’s efforts have been lauded at international forums for being largely successful in preventing poaching. But all the praise and laurels earned in preventing poaching are quickly forgotten when news reports cite death due to negligence. And what is worse is that these occurrences are not infrequent.
A report in the media highlighted one such issue of negligence concerning the death of a rhino that fell into a pit on the side of a road. Road expansion works on the east-west highway have caused a great deal of disturbance in the area for the animals in the surrounding nature reserve and the people around them. And to make matters worse, careless contractors who are determined to cut corners have been leaving construction sites unfinished and unmanaged, which has become a cause for concern for both man and beast.
Given the area’s sensitivity and knowing that national highways crisscross wildlife reserves, the administration seems a little unconcerned about the dos and don’ts concerning construction and other work in the area that is bound to have serious repercussions. In contrast, the National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Department issues a management plan spanning five years. It contains a commendable exercise on the preservation and habitat management front, but the regulations need to be updated to suit the needs of the current day. Construction on a national scale, such as widening roads or upgrading existing facilities, may be necessary, but within the boundaries of established procedures.
A loophole in the system or lack of robust rules will always be open to misuse. Such was perhaps the case when a hapless rhino going about its business ended up falling into an unguarded pit. If it’s not an open pit, it will be the vehicles that will kill them because we lack a true wildlife path or a bridge that will enable the animals to cross from one reserve area to another. It is not scarcity of funds; it is the will to achieve something meaningful that is in short supply. Our callousness is a threat to their existence more than they will possibly face from natural causes.
An uncorrected error stands to be a deliberate action, and the people responsible for such negligence should be held accountable at all costs for causing death and destruction of protected species. The administration, if necessary, will need to comb through every loophole to plug those gaps in the system that is open to abuse and those that openly defy the system’s rule should be held accountable. Efforts should be directed towards preservation over profits. After all, our survival is intertwined with the success of their survival and not quite as much the other way round.