05 Jul 2011
Youths vigilant for rhino conservation
In early and mid-nineties, 83 rhinoceroses were translocated to the Bardia National Park (mid-west region) from the Chitwan National Park (central region) to safeguard the rhino population. Illegal poaching during the decade long conflict (1996-2006) in the country and some natural causes adversely affected the rhino conservation efforts. Consequently in 2008, the rhino population in Bardia went down drastically to 20.
The UNDP Western Terai Landscape Complex Project (WTLCP)has been supporting the rhino conservation efforts of the Government in the Bardia National Park by technically and financially supporting the Community Based Anti-poaching Operation. The WTLCP has already provided five rounds of trainings to 330 local youths since 2008. After the training, about 300 youths are voluntarily patrolling in critical buffer zone areas of the park. They provide information to the park authorities about any suspicious activities.
The WTLCP provided the youths with essential gears and necessary logistical support for patrolling after the training. As a result there has been no poaching of rhinos in the Bardia National Park for the past three years. The park authorities are taking the lead to empower the local youths and take action in the villages notorious for poaching of wild animals.
"It is very encouraging that the rhinos are breeding well and we currently have 24 rhinoceroses including 5 calves in the Bardia National Park," says Mr. Tika Ram Adhikari, the Chief Warden of the National Park. He further says, “The role of youths in conservation is very important. I want to make Community Based Anti-poaching Operation stronger and sustainable by injecting more funds to provide incentives to the local youths in environment related income generation activities and scholarship schemes.”