Deforestation in Lumbini a threat to wildlife

Himalayan News Service

Rupandehi, June 10:

Increasing deforestation in Lumbini area has threatened the existence of many wildlife species found there. Many rare animal and bird species have started migrating to lush plains from the forest, which is considered to be rich in wildlife diversity. Earlier, the forest used to harbour over 114 plant species, but now hardly 86 species could be found, according to forest officials. Similarly, the forest area in Lumbini is important for its wetlands as well. According to Lumbini Development fund, over 261 bird species take refuge in the forest from Sri Lanka, Siberia, Sikkim and Saudi Arabia. Animals like blue bull, rabbits, jackal, cheetah and birds like swans, eagles, falcons, vultures, hornbill and owls are also found here.

Kamlesh Kumar Barma, a forest ranger at the Lumbini Development Fund, said the fund has taken over 1,155 hectares of land and was planning to reforest one fourth of the area. Barma said two to three trees are cut down and smuggled out of the forest each day on an average while over 2,000 trees die of diseases annually. Ang Dawa Sherpa, member of the Fund, said the forest area has been destroyed due to winds.