Sunday, August 05, 2007

Animal orphanage crucial to rehabilitate Nepal wildlife

BY PRAGATI SHAHI

KATHMANDU, Aug 4 - Government officials are having a hard time rehabilitating injured and orphaned wild-animals in their natural habitat due to lack of wildlife orphanage center.

"Most animals become domesticated due to prolonged human contact during their treatment and rearing period," said Laxmi Prasad Manandhar, chief conservation officer at Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation (DNPWC).

According to him, the ongoing practice of keeping rescued wildlife for a long period in human captivity has made it difficult for animals to adapt to their habitat.

The story of two orphaned-baby rhinos named Shiva Ram and Kumar of Chitwan National Park that were reared for more than five years inside the park is a case in point. Manandhar said the rhinos preferred to live in the human colony rather than the jungle. "When they were translocated to Bardiya National Park the rhinos often went to stay with the nearby human settlements where they were treated as horse or donkey and kids were often seen riding on the back of the rhinos," said Manandhar. A story of a three-month old baby leopard from Kaski district also illustrates this. Officials tried to send the leopard back to its habitat after it was four years old. "We left the leopard some 12-15 kilometers far in the jungle. But, it returned within a week," said Manandhar, a member of the rescue team at that time.

RK Manandhar, director of Central Zoo, Kathmandu, said the availability of orphanage center would help us rehabilitate animals in their natural habitat within a short period.

DNPWC is planning to establish an orphanage center at Godavari, Lalitpur. According to Manandhar, a proposed musk deer research center, which has not been in operation for the last 15 years, could be developed as orphanage center.

We can use the center for establishment of the orphanage center for injured, rescued and orphaned wild animals so that they can easily adapt to their natural habitat, he added.

Similarly, due to frequent cases of rescue operations in Chitwan, DNPWC is also planning to establish an orphanage center there. A tigress and a baby rhino were recently rescued in Chitwan. They are being cared for by Chitwan National Park, according to DNPWC sources.

Posted on: 2007-08-03 20:32:04 (Server Time)

http://www.kantipuronline.com/kolnews.php?&nid=118020

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