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Caring for wildlife

Sunday, May 7th, 2017
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Pic: Yuvaraj Shrestha

From the Nepali Press

Yuvaraj Shrestha in www.himalkhabar.com , 7-13 May

When two baby leopards were found injured in a dense neighbourhood of Pokhara four years ago, forest officers simply sent them back to where they had strayed from: a little patch of jungle above Fewa Lake.

Since the baby leopards were released into the woods without proper medical treatment, one of them died after a few days.

Jack Kinross was in the city for a research on tiger species. The wildlife conservationist from New Zealand rescued the other leopard, treated him and released him deep into the jungle of Ghandruk by a chartered helicopter.

Kinross’s works inspired some young entrepreneurs in Pokhara to set up a Wildlife Rescue Centre. They initiated a campaign to raise money and succeeded in founding the Centre in a community forest located between Begnas and Rupa lakes.

Built at a cost of Rs 3.5 million, including Rs one million from the Pokhara Metropolitan City, the Centre is frequently visited by a variety of wild animals for treatment. Mohan Bahadur Basnet, President of the Pachbhaiya community forest users group that is managing the facility, says:  “Some animals are brought here for treatment after being shot by poachers.”

Kaski’s District Forest Officer Kedar Baral says all the animals that receive treatment in the Centre are eventually released back into the forest.

Himalaya Bakharel, a local entrepreneur whose United Club spearheaded the campaign to establish the first wild animal treatment facility of the city has a greater plan. “We want to develop it into an international standard zoo, and a breeding centre,” he says.

 

 

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One Response to “Caring for wildlife”

  1. M Cotton on Says:

    I love the idea of animals attending the centre for treatment of their own volition….

    The idea to make a zoo is a big mistake – with the ACA and many other protected areas in Nepal, the key conservation initiative is emphatically not zoos and similar animal shows, but effective protection and management of natural habitat. Species will then breed and thrive in their natural habitat.

    The DFO took the right action in returning the leopards – they are not endangered – and the cost of treating and rehabilitating a leopard into the wild is disproportionate to the conservation benefit.

    Rather than focussing on a zoo / animal treatment centre, Pokhara Municipality should be focussing on the wanton destruction of the environment under its jurisdiction by uncontrolled urban sprawl, near total absence of waste management, water pollution, etc. It is not reasonable that Nepal should learn the lessons of, say, London, but entirely reasonable that Pokhara learns the lessons of Kathmandu.

    M Cotton

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