Posts Tagged ‘National Parks’

Nature Ramble

This week we’re off to Nepal to see what problems they are having with wild animals.

It appears that National Parks and saving rare and endangered species creates other problems.

 

Attacks prompt Nepal to cap wildlife growth

 

Attacks by wild animals have caused lives and property to be lost

Officials in Nepal have said they will now have to put a cap on the growth of wildlife including endangered species like tigers and rhinos.

They say it is a result of significant increase in loss of human lives from attacks by wild animals.

The problem is especially acute in buffer zones between human settlements and national parks.

In recent years, Nepal has developed a successful protection programme for many endangered species.

The Bardiya National Park in the west now has more than 80 elephants, almost 10 times as many as there were in the 1990s.

In the Himalayas, the numbers of endangered species like snow leopards and red pandas have been growing as well.

And the country has nearly 24% of its land area as protected areas, including national parks, conservation areas and wildlife reserves.

With all these achievements in nature conservation, however, Nepal has also witnessed a rising number of human deaths and property losses because of wildlife.

In the last five years, more than 80 people have been killed by wild elephants while 17 of the animals died in retaliatory killings, according to forest ministry officials.

Elephant protest

Last month, local people in Chitwan, southern Nepal, staged a strike and demanded that a rogue elephant be killed after it had taken the lives of three people.

A few months ago, a leopard in western Nepal caused terror as it killed more than a dozen people within a matter of weeks.

In eastern Nepal, herds of wild elephants continue to rampage, demolishing human settlements and raiding crops.

National park boundaries are no barrier to animal movement

Meanwhile, common leopards are increasingly attacking children and livestock in the hilly region.

Further north, in the trans-Himalayan region, locals continue to complain about snow leopards preying on their livestock.

Although forest ministry officials are yet to compile the latest data on these losses, they do admit that such incidents have gone up remarkably.

“Before, we used to record about 30 human deaths because of wildlife attacks annually but in the past few years the figure appears to have risen significantly,” said Forest Ministry spokesman Krishna Acharya who, until recently, headed Nepal’s Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation.

He added: “The time has now come for us to determine how many such wildlife species we can have in our protected areas.”

WWF’s Nepal country director, Anil Manandhar, said the problem had become quite serious.

“This is now something that could become the biggest threat and setback for Nepal’s success in wildlife conservation,” he explained.

Buffer zones

Wildlife experts say human settlements known as buffer zones around national parks have become flashpoints for human-wildlife encounters.

“The numbers of rhinos and tigers are increasing in the national park and they are moving out in search of food and space. Meanwhile, the increasing human population needs more of the natural resources available, and that competition creates conflict,” said Mr Acharya.

Most of Nepal’s national parks and protected areas are either in the Himalayan region or in the Tarai area, the southern plain land that border India.

Yet, wildlife-related loss of lives and properties are also increasingly being seen in the mid-hill region, geographically located between the Himalayas and Tarai plain land.

Rhino numbers in Chitwan National Park have shot up in recent years

Conservationists point at the growing number of attacks on children and livestock by common leopards because this region has seen huge success in community forestry.

“We have been hearing complaints from farmers that community forests have more wildlife than in some national parks and therefore they are suffering losses of lives and properties,” said Yam Bahadur Malla, country director for the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in Nepal.

He also suggested it was necessary to scientifically demarcate the boundaries of national parks, as some species involved in the attacks were sometimes found outside the existing boundaries.

Forest ministry officials, however, said the chances of expanding existing protected areas were very slim because Nepal had already made huge swathes of land available for nature conservation.

Mr Acharya said the details of plans to limit wildlife growth were yet to be worked out but he added that one of the ideas would be to relocate some of the wildlife species.

“We have listed nine such species that can be trans-located from where there are quite many of them to where there are very few and such species include animals involved in conflicts with humans,” he said.

Mr Acharya also hinted that Nepal will now not commit to protect more wildlife than the amount its protected areas could sustain.

“For instance, we have said we will double the number of tigers to 250. But as we cannot expand our protected areas, we will not be able to commit more than that,” he said.

“Nor can we add new conservation areas.”

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Monday Moaning

When I read of the arrest of the Israeli tourist responsible for the enormous blaze destroying major parts of Torres del Paine National Park in Southern Chile, I was not surprised.

Despite that he has admitted his role, his family are bleating that he is innocent:

Israeli tourist family defends Chile fire suspect

High winds spread the flames rapidly through the Torres del Paine national park

The family of an Israeli tourist accused of starting a massive forest fire in a Chilean national park say the authorities are making him a scapegoat.

Twenty-three-year-old Rotem Singer’s relatives in Israel say he could not have caused the blaze.

A 110 sq km (27,000 acre) expanse of pristine forest has already burned in the Torres del Paine national park in southern Chile.

Hundreds of firefighters are still tackling the blaze.

Mr Singer was arrested on Saturday on suspicion of causing the fire through negligence, by failing to properly extinguish a toilet roll he had been burning.

Chilean prosecutor Juan Melendez said the Israeli had acknowledged his role in allowing the fire to start.

However, Mr Singer’s family say he is innocent.

Source: BBC News Read more

Opinion:

In the 1990s I worked in many locations as a tour guide and camp administrator, including the Pantanal; during which time I met many Israeli tourists, along with many other nationalities.

Of all the nationalities, were I to have my time over, I would never again work with Israelis, closely followed by 5 Star Americans, they are the pits. Don’t bother with your views that I am anti-semitic and therefore a racist, I am not. My disrespect was earned.

Background

Following Israeli compulsory military training every year many parts of the world are flooded with thousands of Israelis freed from their military commitment with a pocket full of money. They swarm across South America in droves from December to end up in La Paz, Bolivia for the Passover Festival there.

During their trek, they reek havoc like no other group or nationality. They ignore camp rules, they do as they please. I have had to close a camp in the Pantanal after it was made uninhabitable by the Israelis shitting everywhere, refusing to use the toilet area, strewing the surrounding countryside with toilet paper, refusing to bury their own shit and designated rubbish containers. They lit fires where they wanted, ignoring special areas set aside for fires, they destroyed camp equipment, hammocks, tents, chairs, tables and used the water casks for seating which in turn broke them. They used drinking water (which has to be trucked in) for washing, even to the point of not closing spigots to preserve water so it was lost, it was organised sabotage because we dared to point out that their behaviour was unacceptable. In this particular camp intake there were only Israelis, 32 of them.

As a national group, their irresponsibility and arrogance makes all angry. In South America, there are hotels, lodgings and tour operators that have signs, “No Israelis.” So I am not alone in venting my thoughts. The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in Peru has seen many problems with them as well, while not from personal experience, I knew many Peruvian trail guides that refused the four day treks with Israelis in the group. The scenario above was one instance, and the worst, but not by much. I had photos that I had taken at the time, unfortunately they have yet to be recovered from my old HDs, if in fact I had scanned those negatives now lost.

They have no respect for nature or eco-anything.

Now I am not saying that all Israelis are like this, but many of the ones traveling in South America are. Of the hundreds I had contact with, one ex-army doctor was a great guy, even apologising for his comrades behaviour which he recognised was way beyond the limits.

Sorry, no sympathy here. His family are in Israel, they don’t know what happened on the other side of the world in Chile.

I apologise to my readers if this sounds racist, it is not intended to be. I am 100% miffed by the attitude and the claim by his parents and hope that upon his admission he is subjected to the full weight of the law as I would be with any nationality. This type of carelessness in today’s day and age is not excusable from travelers from first world countries when you consider the education we have.

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