Lack of credible research poses threat to wildlife

Kathmandu, March 31:

Absence of specific data on wildlife population has posed a serious risk to the safety of some of the endangered species found in Nepal.

According to Prof Dr Karan B Shah, zoologist and researcher, no scientific study on wildlife has been conducted from the biodiversity point of view yet. “In the absence of an inventory and research there is a high chance of wildlife disappearance,” he said.

Prof Shah, who has been rewarded with the Nature Conservation Award 2008 by the National Academy of Science and Technology, said Nepal’s biodiversity boasts of wide range of wildlife, flora and fauna including rare species. “However, it is sorry to say that we don’t have any specific data on existing wildlife,” he said.

Shah claims there are about 208 species of mammals, 190 reptiles (53 amphibians, 58 lizards, 79 snakes), 862 birds, 180 fish and 665 butterflies in the country. “Numbers of insects, bacteria and other living beings under the earth may be disclosed only after a thorough research,” Shah said.

However, Dr Udaya Raj Sharma, secretary at the Ministry of Forest and Land Conservation, said it was impossible to conduct survey to find out every detail. “We adopt flagship species method for the indicative density,” he said, adding that tigers, rhinos and wild buffalos were recorded but the exact data on their population were unavailable.

Shah claimed the policy for conservation lacks the basics to encourage the researchers. “Foreigners used to come to Nepal for the research and be partners with us but no one has come here for the last five years.”