Conservationists protest against caging tigers for tourism promotion in Bharatpur

Published On: March 30, 2024 04:48 PM NPT By: Basanta Dhungana

CHITWAN, March 30: The wildlife rescue center in Devanagar, Bharatpur Metropolitan City-6, has been transformed into a tourist attraction, sparking protests from conservationists. The controversy erupted after Chitwan National Park made arrangements for tourists to view tigers in cages as part of the promotion of Bharatpur Visit Year 2024.

Conservationists took to social media to voice their objections, arguing that caging tigers for the enjoyment of tourists is inhumane. Animal conservationist Surajan Shrestha stated that exhibiting wild animals is inappropriate.

In a Facebook post targeting the park authorities, Shrestha criticized, "WWF plays a significant role in the project that keeps tigers in cages in Chitwan, exploiting them to attract tourists. Those responsible for boosting tiger populations but neglecting natural habitat management, now confining tigers to cages, must be held accountable. We are organizing a protest in front of the Chitwan National Park office in Chitwan."

The park has recently allowed public viewing of the Royal Bengal Tiger at the wildlife rescue center in Devnagar, Bharatpur, starting Wednesday. The center was inaugurated by Renu Dahal, mayor of Bharatpur Metropolis, who mentioned plans to develop it into an open zoo with various wild animals, including rhinos.

The rescue center currently houses a male tiger transferred from Banke on March 2, 2022, and another male tiger captured from the Belsahar Community Forest in Bharatpur-13 on March 2, 2022. When they were brought, one tiger was six years old and another tiger in Belsahar was 11 years old.

Three tigers are being showcased to promote tourism. The park is home to two female tigers and two male tigers in Sauraha. Chitwan National Park boasts the highest tiger population in Nepal, with the latest count revealing 128 adult tigers.

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