Wildlife hit hard due to excessive cold

Bajura, January 29

Wild animals are at risk due to excessive cold in the wake of snowfall in Khapatad National Park.

The national park, which covers areas of Bajura, Bajhang, Doti and Accham districts received five feet of snow recently. The temperature in the areas measured at 2 to 3 degrees Celsius during the day and reached up to minus 15 degrees Celsius at night.

Conservationists said wild animals had moved to the low lands and entered settlement areas due to the bone-biting cold.

Ward No 1 Chairman at Chededaha Rural Municipality Bir Bahadur Rawal said a few animals were found dead inside the national park due to the cold.

The wild animals are at high risk of poaching as villagers hunt animals that enter settlement areas. The thick snow has obstructed most roads that can be used to reach the conserved animals. Khaptad National Park Management Committee Chair Ram Prasad Upadhaya said villagers were taking advantage of the low temperature and killing animals.

Sunil Bohora, a ranger working in the national park, said a team from the Nepali Army was working to clear the obstruction along roads. KNP Chief Conservation Officer Chandra Bahadur Chand said Nepali Army and locals, among other stakeholders, had to be responsible for the conservation of wild animals. “It is not possible for the park alone to protect wild animals. People residing around the park area also need to put in effort for the same.” He said villagers should not kill wild animals that had reached settlement areas.

Khaptad National Park is a natural habitat of the national bird Danphe and Munal. As many as 300 species of birds, deer, leopard and bear, among other species of wildlife, are found in KNP.