Researchers fear delay after losing 6 camerasThe ongoing camera trapping study to assess the impact of vehicular movement and human activities on wildlife inside the Chitwan National Park (CNP) has encountered an unlikely problem.
The ongoing camera trapping study to assess the impact of vehicular movement and human activities on wildlife inside the Chitwan National Park (CNP) has encountered an unlikely problem.
According to Baburam Lamichhane, a researcher with the National Trust for Nature Conservation (NTNC) at Sauraha, a pair of cameras installed at the southwest of Barandhabhar area were stolen, and four more cameras were damaged by the recent downpours.
“This has caused a major setback, putting brakes on the progress of the study,” said Lamichhane. “Not only has it extended our research period, but also cost us data loss.”
Last month, a total of 15 pairs of cameras were installed along the Bharatpur-Ratanagar section of the Eastwest Highway after wild animals roaming from the CNP were reportedly sighted in the area. The cameras being used in the research cost around Rs45,000 each.
“We have no other option than to continue with the remaining cameras now. We are likely to lose vital data on wildlife movement as we don’t have spare cameras to mount at the places where we lost the cameras,” said Lamichhane. “We are trying our best to arrange cameras as soon as possible.”
The camera trapping study is being jointly conducted by the NTNC, CNP, District Forest Office Chitwan, community forests user groups and buffer zone committees.
The research team led by the NTNC team had planned to keep the cameras for 12 months along the Barandabhar corridor where wild animals were often seen.
“As we may have to extend the period of our research, it will need extra resources,” said Lamichhane.
It was first ever instance in Nepal when the camera trapping, a popular method for tracking leopard and tigers, was adopted to learn about the impacts of human activities on wildlife living inside the protected areas.
The study was aimed at finding out vital information about the effects of human activities like plying of vehicles along the highway on the movement of wildlife inside the park.
Once completed, the study will provide detailed information on wildlife movement in relation to time and area, according to Lamichhane. “The result of the study will also help in identifying the causes behind animal kill along the highway and suggest measures to minimise such accidents,” added the researcher.