CNP looking to expand grassland

Chitwan, March 13

Chitwan National Park is on the lookout for new and scientific methods to expand the grassland area with an aim to provide for increasing herbivores in the sanctuary.

The park’s grassland has shrunk over the years from 20 per cent to 9.6 per cent due to a struggle in managing the invasive weed species. The decline in he grassland area has caused wildlife species to wander outside the park range in search of food.

“We will be obtaining a grass-cutting machine made by Pulchowk Engineering College. We will make to with an excavator until the machine comes,” said Ramchandra Kandel, chief conservation officer at CNP. He said the park is mulling scientific methods for the grassland’s upkeep.

At present there are 426 grasslands inside the national park. “Of the total 10,497.2 hectare occupied by grassland, 8,955.2 hectare of the grassland is in the interior of the park and the remaining is in the buffer zone,” said Nurendra Aryal, Asst Conservation Officer.

“We have to cut or burn old grass to grow new grass. Our traditional method of expanding grassland costs a lot of money and manpower and it is not effective. That’s why we are looking at scientific methods,” Aryal informed.

“From 5 per cent we have now increased the grassland area to 10 per cent. It’s a welcome sign but there’s still a lot of work ahead,” commented Aryal.