“We need Smart Green Infrastructure with under and overpasses so that increasing connectivity does not endanger wildlife,” says Warden Ashok Bhandari at Bardia National Park.
Haribhadra Acharya at Parsa National Park agrees, adding that since tigers are at the top of the food chain, more tigers means a healthier eco-system. “A healthy population of tigers means that there is also a healthy population of deer and other prey, and the variety of plants that these herbivores feed on,” Acharya explains.
Sun striped shadows, Lisa Choegyal
Clouded future for the Clouded Leopard, Yadav Ghimirey
The success of trans-boundary conservation and the increase in wildlife has brought another, more immediate threat to the very communities that protect them. Human-wildlife conflict has increased as wild elephants, wild boar and monkeys regularly raid farms. Leopards and tigers kill livestock and even humans. Parsa National Park has attempted to solve this problem by relocating two villages that were inside the park. However, several villages that line the Indian border and are sandwiched between forests of India and Nepal, are threatened by wildlife.
One of them is Kanchhi Lama of Subarnapur at the edge of the Parsa National Park, who has fortified her goat shed with metal nets to protect animals from leopards. But she adds: “We hear leopards growling at night, and we are scared to go out.”
In the west, the Khata Corridor provides the only link between Bardia National Park and India’s Katarniyaghat Wildlife Reserve, and several villages have regular encounters with tigers and elephants. Bhagraiya has 70 households and is surrounded by forests on three sides, and some villagers say it is now getting too dangerous to live there, and would like to be relocated.
Laxmi Chand of Bhagraiya village survived an encounter with a leopard in her goat-shed recently, and says: “We have stopped planting crops in our fields near the forest. What is the point? Wild animals will destroy it all.”
No tiger, no mountain, Kunda Dixit
Tigerman, Lisa Choegyal