Nepal | May 28, 2020

Road accidents claimed 121 wild animals in 2017-2018

Himalayan News Service
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Kathmandu, July 13

Road accidents have taken toll on wildlife in the national parks and conservation areas.

As many as 121 wild animals died in road accidents in three major national parks — Banke, Bardiya and Parsa — in the fiscal 2017-18, according to a report made public by the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation. In the fiscal 2017-18, a total of 168 wild animal had died in these national parks. Of the total deaths, 72 per cent were caused by road accidents.

In the last fiscal, Parsa National Park recorded 10 wild animal deaths and all deaths were caused by road accidents.

Total of 84 wild animals died in road accidents in Banke National Park alone while 27 animals died in road accidents in Bardiaya National Park.

A total of 133 wild animals had died in road accidents in all the national parks and conservation areas in fiscal 2016-17. The DoNPWC is working on a report on wild life deaths in road accidents for fiscal 2018-19 and the report is expected to be released within a few months.

Officials of DoNPWC said overspeeding vehicles and their rising numbers were the main reasons behind increasing animal deaths on the highways passing through national parks and conservation areas. “Maximum speed limit on the highways that pass through national parks is 40 kilometre per hour. But, drivers do not abide by the rules,” said Bishnu Prasad Shrestha, spokesperson for DoNPWC.

The East-West Highway passes through the core area of Bardiya National Park. It also touches some areas of Banke and Parsa national parks.

No animal died in road accidents in Chitwan National Park, this year. CNP had witnessed 57 animal deaths in the last fiscal. The East-West Highway passes through some areas of the buffer zone in CNP.

Officials also said the number of animals deaths might be more than what the record showed as many deaths in road accidents at night went unnoticed.

Shrestha said effective way of controlling animal casualties in road accidents was to build animal-friendly infrastructure such as railways, rope-ways or irrigation system inside the national parks.

“Under pass or over pass in the national parks for easy movement of wildlife across the highways would be the best animal friendly infrastructure,” said Shrestha. He also said that the most important conservation method would be to protect the core habitat area of wild animals inside the park while undertaking development projects.

Apart from animal deaths, a total of 17 persons were killed and 65 were injured in animal attacks in the fiscal 2017-18. Similarly, 434 houses near the national parks or inside the buffer zone were destroyed by wild animals.

A total of 22 persons had lost their lives in animal attacks in the fiscal 2016-17.

A version of this article appears in print on July 14, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.

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