KANCHANPUR: Kanchanpur district in the far-western Tarai has 47 natural lakes, according to a report of the District Agricultural Development Office.
The biggest among these lakes are the Puraina and the Banda lakes located in Belauri Municipality. The lakes spread over an area of 30 and 25 hectares respectively. The rest of the lakes have the area in the range of 0.4 hectares to seven hectares.
As many as 27 lakes have been leased by Consumer groups and community forest users groups to the locals for fisheries. Although fishes are naturally found in 20 lakes located inside the community forests and the national park area, these have not been used for the commercial fisheries, senior agricultural development officer Yagya Raj Joshi said.
Although fish are naturally found in 20 lakes located inside the community forests and the Shuklaphanta National Park area, these have not been used for the commercial fisheries, senior agricultural development officer Yagya Raj Joshi said.
There are altogether 13 natural lakes in Shuklaphanta Municipality while there are eight in Belauri Municipality, six in Bedkot Municipality, four in Krishnapur Municipality, five in Punarbas Municipality, three in Mahakali Municipality, four in Beldandi Rural Municipality, one in Laljhadi Rural Municipality, one in Bhimdattanagar Municipality and two in the Shuklaphanta National Park.
Joshi said most of these natural lakes are shrinking due to deposition of silt and sand by floodwater during the rainy season and increasing encroachment. He added that the natural
He added that the natural lakes, especially on the foothills of the Chure range, are most vulnerable to siltation, thereby putting the birds and other animals that live near these lakes at risk of losing their habitat.
The combined area of the natural lakes in the district is more than 300 hectares, it is stated. Twenty-nine different species of fish and 11 species of amphibians and reptiles are found inhabiting the wetland areas in the district which has the altitude varied from 160 metres to 1,528 metres.