No end in sight to wildlife terror in buffer zoneReducing the incidence of human-wildlife conflict is one of the major challenges facing the Chitwan National Park authority.
Reducing the incidence of human-wildlife conflict is one of the major challenges facing the Chitwan National Park authority.
Wildlife attacks have claimed at least 176 lives in and around the park area in the past 21 years; 654 people were injured.
At least five people die as a result of human-wildlife conflict every year.
According to Chief Conservation Officer Bed Kumar Dhakal, around 300,000 people reside in the buffer zone areas in Chitwan, Nawalparasi and Parsa districts.
People living at the park’s buffer zone areas have long been demanding the park authority to protect their lives and properties from wild animals. They say the efforts made by the park authority to mitigate human-wildlife conflicts so far have not yielded the desired results.
“While the government has recently increased the compensation amount for the victims of wildlife attacks, there is still a lot left to be desired in terms of limiting the movement of wild animals within the park’s territory,” said Narad Mani Paudel of Ayodhyapuri VDC in Madi.
Paudel, who has long been campaigning for safety of buffer zone residents from the park animals, believes that the situation is not going to change unless the park authority takes serious steps to upgrade its security infrastructure.
In the past, many deaths and injuries used to take place inside the park while the victims were collecting firewood and fodder for their cattle. Such incidents have lowered these days as fewer people enter the park territory.
“It is the onslaught of wild animals on buffer zone villages that people are worried about,” Paudel said. The park officials say they are working to address the concerns of buffer zone residents.
“Construction of wall and electric fence is underway to protect settlements from wild animals. Efforts are also on to manage the habitat of park animals to ensure that they do no stray away in search of food and enter the buffer zone villages,” Dhakal said.