Nepal To Limit Growth of Elephants and Endangered Species

Nepal is home to a many endangered species a number of which, thanks to government protection programs, have made small but notable comebacks. But as of this past week, Nepalese officials have said they will be limiting the growth of more than a few endangered species including tigers and rhinos due to a “significant increase” in the number of attacks on humans by wild animals.

Nearly 24 percent of Nepal’s land area is classified as protected in the form of national parks, wildlife reserves and conservation areas. Nepal’s Chitwan National Park in the southern part of the country now has more than 500 rhinos, an increase of more than half the population from a few years ago; there are now also more than 125 tigers. In the west, the more than 80 elephants in Bardiya National Park represent a tenfold increase from the 1990s. Populations of snow leopards and red pandas have also grown.

In the past, about 30 human deaths resulted from wildlife in a year. But recently, “buffer zones” between national parks and areas inhabited by humans have seen a significant rise. More than 80 people have been killed in the past five years by wild elephants, 17 of whom have been slain in retaliatory killings. After three people were killed in Chitwan, communities held a protest and called for the killing of a “rogue elephant.”

In April, a teenager was killed in a “rare attack” by a tiger; he and friends had gone into Chitwan National Park to cut grass. In eastern Nepal, children and livestock have been attacked by leopards; in the western part of the country, a leopard killed more than a dozen people in a few weeks. Snow leopards are beautiful creatures and only 500 are thought to remain in the wild but they have been killing livestock in the trans-Himalayan region.

In addition, more and more tigers and rhinos are moving out of the national park for food and space and coming into competition with a growing human population, says Forest Ministry spokesman Krishna Acharya.

It is unlikely that existing protected areas can be expanded as Nepal has already dedicated significant amounts of land for such. Acharya said that some wildlife might be relocated and suggested that Nepal would not commit to protecting greater numbers of wildlife than can be sustained in current conservation areas. As he says in the BBC, ”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.”

Conservationists point out that the rising number of leopard attacks results in part because of a rise in forestry in the mid-hill region, geographically located between the Himalayas and Tarai plain land. That is, human development must be taken into account in addressing the growing conflicts between humans and wild life.

Nepal’s success at bringing back wildlife and its current dilemma suggest that conservation efforts must be about more than simply increasing populations of animal wildlife: This must happen in ways that do not set them at odds with local communities. What if the Nepalese government allowing some killing of endangered species undoes the the gains of its own conservation programs?


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Photo from Thinkstock


Alicia N.
Alicia N4 years ago

sadly noted...

Duane B.
.4 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Lydia Price

The deaths of humans who have entered into these endangered species habitats is indeed tragic, but they should not be counted against the animals. They are just doing what animals do. They should concentrate on creating a safer buffer zone between the animals and humans. Killing the animals is not the solution. Good fences really do make for good neighbors.

Katherine Wright
Katherine Wright5 years ago

I agree with Carole P's post 100%.

When humans enter an animal's habitat there is a chance they will be hurt or killed. When animals enter a human's habitat there is a certainty they will be killed.

We need to find ways to co~exist and not drive all these other species to the brink of extinction or worse.

Carole Pointet
Carole Pointet5 years ago

Endangered animals versus humans (not endangered!) = find a way to limit human growth, or these species will disappear forever. We certainly are far from being on the brink of extinction now, but if we keep killing everything else it will be our demise sooner or later.

Miles Foster5 years ago

Nepal is to be congratulated for its conservation successes and for protecting 24% of its land, in contrast with the USA's approximately 5%. But this article throws an interesting light on conservation efforts worldwide and, for example, WWF's campaign to double numbers of wild tigers by 2022. First and foremost it is habitat that must be protected and parks and reserves everywhere are under increasing pressure from local human populations and their attendant livestock; many of those humans and domestic animals that are killed by predators are in parks illegally. We may be facing a future in which many species will only exist within reserves and in which most species will survive, if at all, in very much lower numbers than at present. Currently most of the reserves in India and Nepal are tiny compared with, say, those in Africa, and animals such as tigers find it difficult or impossible to move from one protected area to another. And Nepal, understandably, says it can do no more. The existing reserves must not be allowed to be eroded by relentless commercial, political and population pressures and, where possible, they must be connected by ‘wildlife corridors’ such as that proposed in the Indo-Nepali-Bhutanese terai.

Linda Jarsky
Linda Jarsky5 years ago

Martin Luther King Jr. is quoted as saying, “Never, never be afraid to do what's right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society's punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.”

Fiona T.
Past Member 5 years ago

Why are the animal growth limited?

Carrie Anne Brown

thanks for sharing :)

paul m.
paul m5 years ago

Thanks ...