Chitwan. How about a rhinoceros living in the forest entering the city market? Locals are terrified and park officials are having a headache. After all, domestic or foreign tourists used to visit Sauraha in Rapti Pari of Chitwan and walk in the forest to see the wildlife in Chitwan, which is famous for its wildlife.
Rhinoceros Rhinoceros and wild elephants are now seen in the main market of Chitwan, after a one or two hour jungle trek from Chitwan by elephant or jeep. Locals and wildlife conservationists have started searching for the cause after a rare rhinoceros with a baby was spotted in the Barhaghare area of Bharatpur Municipality, two kilometers away from Narayangarh Bazaar on Friday morning.
Climate change has led to drying up of ponds within the park, erosion of grasslands, uncontrolled urbanization and increased human activity, leading to the influx of wildlife into urban areas, experts say.
Conservationists say that this is due to the increase in the number of wild animals due to the efforts of wildlife conservation. Whatever the reason, both the wildlife and the inhabitants of the park are at risk as wildlife now enters human settlements.
“Due to the impact of climate change, the biodiversity within the park has started to be affected. The ponds of the park are drying up and the grassland is being eroded, ”said Chief Conservation Officer of the park Ved Kumar Dhakal.
“Currently, the main reason for the influx of rhinos and elephants into human settlements is the grasslands and ponds that are being filled inside the park.” He also said that due to the ongoing uncontrolled development plan in the Chure and Mahabharat ranges, the ponds of the park are being filled with water.
In the total area of 928 square kilometers, Chitwan National Park used to have 20 percent grassland but now it has been reduced to 10 percent, said Dhakal. But now the grassland is shrinking by less than 10 percent. The ponds in the park are also drying up. Although artificial ponds have been constructed in some places, they have not been effective. Elephants and rhinos graze on grasslands. Both animals are aquatic animals.
“Recently, the number of wild animals has increased with the control of poaching, while the grassland and water area in the park is declining and why don’t the animals come out,” said Chief Conservation Officer Dhakal. The flooding of the Rapti River every year and its pollution has destroyed the grasslands. ”
Chief Conservation Officer Dhakal said that he has information that there are 10 rhinos in human settlements outside the park. He said that homework would be done to bring all of them to the park considering their security risks. Earlier, the park had rescued two rhinos from Mangalpur and Rampur in West Chitwan and taken them inside the park. A rhinoceros has yet to give birth in the town forest near Narayangarh Bazaar. He has been entering the city with his children from time to time.
Not only rhinos but also elephants in the park are coming out in human settlements and causing misery to the general public. In the third week of November alone, two women were killed by an elephant on the same day in Madi area in the central part of the park.
Not only that, in the first five months of the current fiscal year, nine people have been killed and 12 injured due to attacks by wild animals such as tigers, rhinos and elephants. In the previous fiscal year 2074/75, the number of deaths was only five. Spokesperson of the park Gopal Bahadur Ghimire informed that 31 people were injured in the attack.
The wild animals are causing misery in Madi, Meghauli, Mangalpur, Bharatpur, Narayangarh, Gaindakot of Nawalparasi and Razahar. Residents around the Chitwan National Park are now in a state of panic after wild animals started attacking the locals and killing them, which has increased the risk to the safety of wildlife.
“I don’t know when the elephant will come and attack. Rhinos are now roaming from house to house, ”says local Sri Prasad Dawadi.“ Lately, the animals of the park have started entering human settlements in the afternoon. This puts not only the locals but also the animals at risk. ”
Keshav Devkota, former chairman of the Intermediate Zone Development Committee, says, “Habitat needs to be improved for wildlife as well. Along with wildlife, the risk to the general public also had to be eliminated. ”