Efforts underway to declare Jagadishpur lake as country’s second bird sanctuaryLake is home to 167 bird species found in Nepal and over 15,000 migratory birds that arrive from as far away as Siberia, Mongolia, Kyrgyzstan to winter.
If everything goes as planned, the picturesque Jagadishpur lake, a Ramsar wetland site in Kapilvastu district, will soon be declared Nepal’s second bird sanctuary.
Conservationists and authorities concerned have been lobbying to declare the wetland as a bird sanctuary to conserve rarefied birds and promote bird tourism in the country.
The division forest office in Kapilvastu has started the due process to make Jagadishpur lake a bird sanctuary after some forest, environment and eco-tourism experts recommended that the lake is ideal to be remodelled as a bird sanctuary. A team of experts, including Bishwanath Oli and Ganeshraj Joshi, studied the lake recently and submitted a report.
“Letters have been dispatched to get inter-ministerial consensus to declare Jagadishpur lake as a bird sanctuary,” said Narayan Dev Bhattarai, chief of the forest management, planning and monitoring division, under the Ministry of Forest, Environment and Soil Conservation of Lumbini Province. “The declaration will promote the conservation of birds and help develop the wetland for eco-tourism.”
The provincial ministry has begun the process to declare the lake as a bird sanctuary based on the report by Oli and Joshi, according to Bhattarai.
Chapter 11, clause 45 of Lumbini Province’s Forest Act 2021 has the provision to declare any habitat of indigenous and migratory birds as a bird sanctuary. It is based on this legal provision that the provincial government is preparing to declare the lake as a sanctuary.
The division forest office has prepared a five-year plan to develop eco-tourism in Jagadishpur lake. The forest office has proposed a total budget of Rs 236 million to implement the plan.
The provincial ministry of Forest, Environment and Soil Conservation allocated Rs2.5 million budget for the upcoming fiscal year of 2022-23 to promote eco-tourism in the lake. According to Bhattarai, the shortfall will be collected from various organisations working for nature and wildlife conservation as well as from stakeholders.
With the declaration, Jagadishpur lake will be the second bird sanctuary in Nepal. On March 11, Ghodaghodi wetland area in Kailali, a Tarai district in Sudurpaschim Province, was declared the country’s first bird sanctuary.
Jagadishpur lake was listed as a Ramsar wetland site in August 2003. The lake is spread over an area of 157 hectares across Kapilvastu Municipality’s wards 9 and 10, and is located some 11 kilometres north of Taulihawa, the district headquarters.
The lake, which was constructed in 1972-73 for the purpose of irrigation, has been a major destination for bird watching in the country. According to conservationists, of the 888 species of birds found in Nepal, 167 bird species, including grebes, cormorants, herons, egrets, stork, ducks and geese, terns and gulls, are found in the Jagadishpur lake. The lake provides shelter to 15,000 to 20,000 migratory birds that arrive from as far away as Siberia, China, Russia, Mongolia, Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan to spend the winter.