Marked rise in wildlife deaths in road accidents

August 06, 2019

Keshab Rana, My Republica, August 06, 2019

KATHMANDU: There has been a marked rise in wildlife deaths in road accidents on the highways in and around various national parks.

In fiscal year 2018/19, at least 499 wild animals deaths were reported in various national parks and reserves across the country and 119 of them were killed in road accidents.

Of the 326 wildlife deaths reported in fiscal year 2016/17, a total of 133 animals were killed in road accidents. Likewise, in the fiscal year 2017/18, of the total 391 wildlife deaths reported, 124 were killed in road accidents.

Among the animals most at risk of road accidents include wild boars, spotted deer (chittal) and monkeys. The last fiscal year also saw death of a royal Bengal tiger. According to Information Officer at the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation (DNPWC), spotted deer, wild boars and monkeys are dying in large numbers in road accidents in recent years. Most of the animals dying in road accidents are from Banke, Bardiya, Shuklaphanta and Chitwan national parks as the western and southern Banke are linked with Kohalpur-Surkhet highway and the East-West Highway respectively.

Since Banke national park is dry compared to other national parks, animals usually come to the highways in search of water.

Conservationist Bhagwan Raj Dahal stressed the need for immediate action to reduce such accidents. He suggested building underpasses and overpasses along the highways in the park areas so that animals could move freely without fear of road accidents.

Deputy Director General of DNPWC Ram Chandra Kandel informed that his department is working on plans to reduce such accidents.

Bardiya National Park has implemented timecard to lessen the number of accidents in the area. Although Banke National Park followed suit, the system has not been effective. “We are planning to set up ropes over the highways to allow monkeys to cross the road without fear of accident. We will also install CCTV cameras along the highway,” added Kandel.

According to the DNPWC, two underpasses have been constructed along the Narayanghat-Mugling road and more have been planned to allow wild animals to cross the road without fear of accident.