Blackbucks to be relocated from Bardiya to Kanchanpur
KATHMANDU, July 15: After rhinos and tigers, it is time for Nepal´s blackbucks, listed as near threatened species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), to move to a new habitat.
Soon after this year´s rainy season is over, the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation (DNPWC) will relocate around 15 blackbucks to Suklaphanta Wildlife Reserve in Kanchanpur from Khairapur of Gulariya, Bardiya.
“It´s just a trial,” said Ram Prasad Lamsal, spokesperson for the Ministry of Forest and Soil Conservation (MoFSC). “If we get positive results, we will shift more blackbucks.”
According to Waden Yubaraj Regmi, a 75,000 square meter area of Hirapur in the Suklaphanta Wildlife Reserve will be fenced with barbed wire for the new guests, which are now facing troubles mainly because of domestic dogs in Blackbuck Conservation Area in Khairapur.
“Blackbucks´ main enemies are dogs in Khairapur,” says Lamsal. “As Khairapur is close to human settlement of Gulariya municipality, we are shifting some blackbucks to a natural habitat. It´s an effort to detach blackbucks from humans.”
In March of 2009, the government declared a 15.95 square kilometer area of Khairapur in Gulariya as Blackbuck Conservation Area. Today, there are 213 blackbucks in Khairapur.
In 1975, the government woke up to the threat facing blackbucks when their population declined to just nine. By 1990, the number of blackbucks rose to 177. However, largely owing to conflict with domestic dogs, the blackbuck´s population is declining once again.
Lamsal says the government will coordinate with various stakeholders to develop Hirapur as the new sustainable blackbuck habitat. As blackbucks mainly feed on wheat and mustard, the government is also planning to cultivate these two crops in Hirapur.
Nepal is the only habitat of the blackbucks on the northern edge of the Indian subcontinent.
Earlier, in 1986, DNPWC had relocated 13 rhinoceros to Bardiya from the Chitwan National Park. Later, 66 more rhinos were relocated to Bardiya.
Two-and-a-half years ago, a tiger, which was named Namobuddha, was transferred to Bardiya from Chitwan. Namobuddha, which was fitted with a GPS before being released in Bardiya, was later killed by poachers.