By Raj Bahadur Shahi
Protected animals in the lower regions of the Rara National Parks have been displaced due to rampant deforestation and poaching, local people said.
The problem is created after people in upper Talitum, Mathitum, Hennikandh and Talchagaun started smuggling timber and firewood.
According to local residents, endangered animals like tiger, beer, musk deer, wild boar lophophorous are hardly seen in the lower regions these days. They said though the government has mobilised Nepali Army personnel and national park officials to secure the protected area, their efforts so far have proved futile. Bhim Bahadur Rokaya, acting engineer at the District Technical Office, said deforestation and consequent landslides caused by soil erosion could lead to the burst of the Rara lake.
He said local people in Shrinagar, Kakribada, Pina and Seri VDCs have been smuggling timber for construction purposes.
“Nowadays animals like tigers, bears and lophophorus are hardly seen in the area. Tourists who come to observe forests and wildlife in the area return after visiting the Rara lake,” Bhim Tiruwa, a local resident, said. He said the deforestation and poaching of protected animals could be curbed if the national park officials and security personnel worked effectively.
Bhupendra Rayamajhi, acting conservation officer at the national park, however, said local people collect firewood and fodder with the permission of the authorities concerned and that anyone found carrying illegal activities in the protected area will be punished as per the laws.