Nepal | July 14, 2020

Nepal’s rich biodiversity under threat

Let’s understand the importance of our flora and fauna and do everything to protect and conserve them

The Himalayan Times
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Nepal's Flora and fauna

Illustration: Ratna Sagar Shrestha/ THT

 Nepal is rich in biodiversity. There are various types of flora and fauna found in Nepal. For example, yarshaghumba (Cordyceps sinensis) and the one-horned rhino are the most valuable flora and fauna found in Nepal, among others.

Every year many people including children go in search of yarshagumba risking their life. The one-horned rhino, which is found in Chitwan, is also rare fauna found in Nepal. Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve, which is near my place in the Sagarmatha Zone, is home to a variety of flora and fauna. Varieties of birds, and arna (wild buffalo) are among them. Due to lack of concern, these birds and arna are on the verge of extinction. Check-up on a regular basis should be done to figure out the extinction of these species. A suitable environment should be maintained in order to help the flora and fauna adjust in their own habitat.
— Nikita Shrestha, Udayapur

 Nepal is a small and beautiful country with diversified wildlife. There are many wildlife and medicinal herbs which cannot be found in other countries. Many flora and fauna are extinct and others are on the verge of extinction. Many wildlife, conservation areas and national parks have been established in different parts of the country and are doing a good job. The population of tigers has increased by 63 per cent as per the last survey of 2009. There are 120 royal Bengal tigers and the world’s largest concentration of one-horned rhino is in Chitwan.

We must take several steps and initiations to protect the endangered species. The first step is to get knowledge about the endangered species and try to maintain a good and suitable environment for them. Strict security system should be put up in different national parks, wildlife reserves and conservational areas to stop the shooting, trapping and poaching of the endangered species. Strict rules and laws must be made and implemented strictly according to the law. If anyone is found harming wildlife, the person should be given strict punishment. Lastly, we all must unite together with a common aim to protect all the endangered animals.
— Smarika Gharti

 The flora and fauna is nature’s gift. Nepal boasts of a verdant forest which provides shelter to substantial flora and fauna. And there are a few species which are very unique to Nepal including one-horned-rhino, spiny babbler, Nepali orchid, among others. The spiny babblers used to fly over the paddy fields of my village in Gothatar and I have sweet memories of the same. Now most of those paddy fields have vanished compelling the winged friends to fly away from their natural habitat. Where have they gone? This question still haunts me!

Similarly, the flora and fauna of my place has been annihilated by rampant deforestation. Who is to blame for this rampage?  Lack of knowledge and awareness, an individual’s apathy to their surroundings, lacks of semblance of the government are some of the plausible reasons behind this lamentable behaviour. Reforestation programmes including indigenous plant, long-lasting eco-friendly programmes, tough rules and regulation against wrongdoers, and self-realisation above all can help protect the flora and fauna from disappearing from the planet.
— Rajan Pandit, Gothatar

 There was a variety of flora and fauna in my village, but they are few in number now. In fact, Nepal treasures a variety of flora and fauna in all parts of the country like the rhododendron, jatamansi et cetera. Some are on the verge of extinction. Not only flora, but the number of different types of fauna are also decreasing. Many types of fauna are found in Nepal and some of them are spiny babbler, red panda et cetera. The bird — spiny babbler is only found in Nepal and only a few remain today. Many people do not even know about spiny babbler and that it is only found in Nepal. So, due to this problem, rare animals are being poached. To conserve the pride of Nepal, wildlife reserves and national parks for both flora and fauna have to be established. So, by this we can protect the flora and fauna in Nepal. We should preserve flora and fauna. We should preserve forests where there are a number of fauna and flora.
— Rohan Adhikari

 I am from Nepal’s Tarai region. The Tarai is also known as the hub of flora and fauna. But, at the same time, plants and animals have been disappearing day by day due to people’s negligence towards them. Of course, this is wrong for such flora and fauna. So, it is everyone’s responsibility to protect them no matter where we are from. In my area, animals like deer and wild boar are facing the threat of extinction. These animals are being poached massively by hunters for their valuable organs and meat. In order to protect them, the community forest personnel and the government security forces should both come together to protect these animals while the areas should be maintained and checked regularly. As a result, the hunter/poacher will not get a chance to hunt/poach the animals. In such a way, I think the threat of extinction of endangered animals can be minimised.
— Saroj Wagle, Dumarwana, Bara

 Nepal is rich in biodiversity because of its unique physical features, thus we find many types of flora and fauna here. But unfortunately people have polluted and destroyed the habitat of these organisms and due to that everyday one or the other species of certain animals/plants is becoming extinct. And saving them is our responsibility as we have destroyed their habitat. So, in my opinion, every Nepali should understand their importance and must help to protect the flora and fauna. We should create a governing body to look after them and create a suitable habitat where they are able to adjust and live comfortably. No one should hunt them and laws should be made to look after their rights. And we ourselves also must not pollute or damage their habitat.
— Sarah Khan

 Nepal is magnificent in terms of flora and fauna. We can see so many plants and wildlife living in different geographical locations. There are some which can be found only in Nepal like the bird named Kade Bhyakur. Luckily, we also have the one-horned rhino which gives a spectacular picture and this is a rare sight that can’t be seen in other countries.

Nepal is a rich country in natural resources. Shankhuwasaba is my hometown and the local people of this place don’t realise the value of the natural resources. And so they have cut down precious plants for settlement by which animals have lost their habitat. People are also hunting and poaching animals to earn money.

Realising the importance of flora and fauna, we must protect them. For their protection, the government has to play a leading role for their protection, conservation and preservation. So, there must be strict rules and laws regarding it. And penalty should be charged if anyone doesn’t follow the rules. Everyone should be encouraged to participate in conservation activities of wild plants and animals. People should hold programmes and campaigns to make others aware about the importance and protection of the rich flora and fauna. Education has to be provided to all people of the rural areas so that they will learn to respect and protect the precious things which is near to them.
— Anjali Gurung

 Nepal is a biodiverse Himalayan nation rich in a variety of species of flora and fauna. However, over the decades several species of flora as well as fauna such as rhinoceros, elephants, tigers, leopards, primates, birds, fishes, reptiles, amphibians and countless invertebrates have either become vulnerable, endangered or critically endangered. Some have even become extinct. There are several anthropogenic factors that are responsible for the slow but steady decline of different species of local flora and fauna across Nepal. One of the foremost factors impacting species diversity in Nepal is the challenge of ecological degradation and environmental pollution, global warming and climate change, unplanned growth of villages, towns and cities along with exponential rise of human population beyond the carrying capacity of the local ecosystems. Lack of proper environmental impact assessments while allowing the successful completion of several infrastructural projects across the nation has damaged local forests and wildlife seriously.

Unrestricted application of synthetic chemicals and fertilisers in agriculture has caused local water bodies poisoning which run deep impacting several terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. Furthermore, poaching, illegal trade and trafficking of local wildlife and forest products, severe dependence of local communities on the vulnerable forest resources for daily sustenance, lack of education and awareness, poor management of natural resources and unrestricted occasional forest fires have all contributed to the serious loss of forests and wildlife across Nepal.
It is important to develop a comprehensive forest and wildlife conservation plan for the whole nation involving all stakeholders like governmental departments, NGOs, lawyers, ecologists, conservators, students, indigenous communities in the nationwide effort for protecting forests and vulnerable wildlife.
— Saikat Kumar Basu

 Flora and fauna are the kings of the jungle. In Nepal, we don’t have many different species of bird and animals because poachers have killed them to earn money. As we don’t have strict rules and regulations, one or two species are being poached on a daily basis. If we visit the zoo in Jawalakhel, we can’t see lots of flora and fauna and many cages are empty there. Due to lack of strict rules, flora and fauna have not been protected and preserved and some of them are on the verge of extinction. Mainly tigers and elephants are poached more in number and they sell their body parts. When we are losing our precious plants and animals, why isn’t anyone doing anything about it? It is everyone’s responsibility to protect them and one and only solution for this problem is awareness among people. They should accept that animals make the jungle beautiful, and they are also living beings and no one has the right to kill them. And the government has to organise awareness campaign to share their importance to people.
— Sonika Lamichhane

 The flora and fauna of Nepal have been facing the threat of extinction, which could unfortunately come true in the next few years. The main reason behind this fact is neither the government nor the authorities concerned is giving any emphasis in this regard.

When it comes to my area, I really don’t have any idea about what flora and fauna are on the verge of extinction. I do know that due to sheer negligence and lack of proper care, they will soon disappear from our country if we are not serious from right now. Of course it is a well-known fact that Nepal possesses those flora and fauna which we hardly find in any other part of the world. Now the need of the hour is that the government of our country should be serious to address this problem as soon as possible. We should work in solidarity and determination to solve this problem right on time. Otherwise a day will arrive when all those flora and fauna will be wiped out of our country.
— Pratik Shrestha, Buddhanagar, Baneshwor

 Diversity in nature is something Nepal is quite well-gifted with. However, nothing has its worth unless we have realised its importance, tried to nurture it and moreover made an effort to protect it. The flora and fauna have been boon to the nation but it’s sad to say, for those animals and plants being here have become a bane since we people are not doing much for their protection. With their habitat taken down in the name of deforestation and urbanisation, species like musk deer, Asiatic elephants, Gaur, snow leopard, et cetera are on the verge of extinction.

As per the data of the National Conservation status of Nepal’s Avifauna (March 2016), out of 878 bird species recorded in Nepal, 167 are facing the threat of extinction. The Taudaha Lake, famous as a bird sighting place, has witnessed decrease in the number of birds in the recent years, all credit to the increasing human residence and pollution. Same is the situation of the medicinal herbs and rare plants. People are unaware about those green gold around. So, spreading awareness should be the first step towards conservation. Media can play a very effective role in it. Strict rules and laws must not be just some words written on paper, but implementation should be done. Boasting about the diversity we do have is genuine, but we must have that potential to make the best use of it and preserve that diversity we are proud of.
— Suneha Shrestha, Kathmandu

 Among the many countries of the world, Nepal is one of the richest in flora and fauna. Thanks to diverse geographical areas with climatic differences. Also many species of seasonal birds migrate from other countries to Nepal. There are some species which are exclusive to Nepal. This includes Kande Bhaykur, which is only found in Arun Valley. Among some of the rare animals of Nepal are musk deer which can survive only in the mountainous regions of Nepal and the one-horned rhino that is only found in Nepal.

Varieties of medicinal plants are also found in Nepal. Production of these plants is very high in our country. Every year medicinal plants are exported to other countries like yarshaghumba, panchaule, jatamansi, cheeraito et cetera. Hence, the flora and fauna are important assets of Nepal. However, some of the species of plants and animals are facing various threats, while some have become extinct and many are on the verge of extinction due to many reasons. Destruction of their habitat in the form of deforestation is one of the major factors for the extinction of plants and animals.

In our locality, varieties of beautiful, attractive and colourful birds as well as colourful flowering plants were found around 20 to 25 five years ago, but nowadays, there have completely disappeared from our locality. This is perhaps due to destruction of their habitat and climate change. In order to protect them from becoming extinct, public awareness programmes should be launched for conserving natural habitat. Afforestation programmes should be conducted while poaching of animals should be stopped and more national parks and conservations areas should be motivated.
— Bhairab Bahadur Pandey, Nuwakot

 Despite, being topographically and naturally rich, Nepal’s flora and fauna are disappearing day by day. In my opinion, the first and foremost thing necessary for the protection of these flora and fauna from disappearing from the Earth is mutual cooperation among the government, NGOs /INGOs and every citizen of the country. Besides, the expansion of educational network and creating awareness among people through seminars, rallies and mass media regarding the importance of flora and fauna from every natural, ecological, and tourism aspects can also play a key role in the protection of flora and fauna.

For this, radio might be a cheap and reliable media to make people of rural areas aware. Furthermore, I think the citizens of our country play a major role in the protection and conservation of flora and fauna. In addition, the government can also generate employment opportunities for jobless people and reduce poverty which can greatly help in reducing the rate of poaching. Further, the government too can attract people in conservation of flora and fauna by rewarding actively working animal conservationists, local people and organisations with attractive prizes every year. Moreover, hatcheries and breeding techniques are the best technological options that can be adopted to increase the number of flora and fauna.
— Madhav Ghimire, Ratopul, Kathmandu

A version of this article appears in print on August 07, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.

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