Conservationists join forces with business leaders to raise wildlife awarenessConservationists on Monday held an interactive programme with the business community in Chitwan to discuss the responsibility of all stakeholders in conserving wildlife in the district.
Conservationists on Monday held an interactive programme with the business community in Chitwan to discuss the responsibility of all stakeholders in conserving wildlife in the district.
In an orientation programme organised by Ratnanagar Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the conservationists said that the conservation of wildlife plays an important role in not only saving the ecosystem but also in helping local communities reap economic benefits.
Chitwan National Park (CNP), the first conservation area of the country, is home to various rare animals like one-horned rhinos, tigers, gharials, elephants and many more.
Ramprit Yadav, the former chief conservation officer at the CNP, said that the business community, especially tourism entrepreneurs, stand to gain if the conservation of the wildlife is a part of their agenda. “Tourists from far and wide visit the park to get a glimpse of these rare animals. The authority collects around Rs250 million as revenue from visiting tourists annually. Business and employment opportunities for the locals are aplenty in the region mainly because of the national park,” he said.
Yadav urged the business community to refrain from carrying out activities that may affect the conservation of wildlife. The committee also disseminated information about the legal repercussions of harming, poaching and smuggling wild animals. Yadav also sought the business community’s help in raising awareness about the rampant smuggling of animal body parts and in assisting the authorities to put a stop to it. Yadav asked entrepreneurs to be vigilant about such illegal activities taking place in their vicinity. According to him, those guilty of poaching wildlife and smuggling their body parts are liable for a fine of up to Rs1 million or 15 years imprisonment or both as per existing legal provisions of the country.
The conservationists also reminded the business community about meeting and maintaining environmental standards as stipulated by the law to set up factories and other business enterprises in the buffer zone of the park. “Special attention should be paid while establishing factories and carrying out business activities in the buffer zone to keep the necessary balance in the ecosystem,” said Rishi Ranabhat, the assistant conservation officer at east sector office of the CNP. He urged businesspersons to consult with the park management and get permission to initiate business activities and to set up factories in the buffer zone.
On the occasion, the business community as a whole also agreed to carry out their work while taking measures to protect animals and forests. Rajaram Regmi, the chairman of Ratnanagar Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said that the interaction programme was organised to aware entrepreneurs about the conservation of environment and wildlife along with their trade and business. “Our activities, knowingly or unknowingly, may affect the environment. The programme was organised to ensure that our activities do not endanger wildlife,” he said. Around 100 entrepreneurs attended the awareness programme.