Construction of wildlife hospital in limbo

Published On: September 8, 2016 07:18 AM NPT By: Ramesh Kumar Paudel

CHITWAN, Sept 7: A rhino that had sustained six bullet injuries on August 20 died Tuesday while undergoing treatment in an open place on the premises of Chitwan National Park (CNP).

It is an irony that construction of a wildlife hospital is underway some 200 meters away from the area where the rhino died.

Then Minister for Forest and Soil Conservation Mahesh Acharya had laid the foundation stone of the hospital in March 2015. There is no progress in the construction works of the wildlife hospital since then.

Due to lack of well-equipped hospital, veterinary doctors and other technicians are compelled to treat animals with whatever tools and techniques that are available. As a result, the chances of death of injured animal always remain high.

The government had planned to equip wildlife hospital with X-ray machine, a lab and a separate treatment room. The Chitawan National Park (CNP) has planned to deploy four veterinary doctors and seven other technicians to cure injured animals. It is, however, sad that wild animals are dying every year due to lack of treatment.

In the inauguration ceremony, Tika Ram Adhikari, director general of the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation had informed that Denver Zoo and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) would provide Rs 10 million to the National Trust for Nature Conservation (NTNC). The government had planned to construct the hospital in collaboration with the NTNC and the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation. As per the plan, the hospital would be run jointly by the CNP and the Bio Diversity Protection Center, Sauraha. However, no government agency seems serious to expedite the construction process.

“The foundation stone has already been laid. We will start the construction process soon,” chief conservation officer of CNP Ram Chandra Kandel said. “The number of wild animals are increasing in the park,” he said, adding that the number of injured animals have also increased in the recent years.

A total of 25 wild animals died in the last fiscal year after sustaining injuries. As many as 10 one-horned rhinos have died due to injury they sustained in clash with other wild animals as well as in tiger attacks.

A female rhino got injured after being attacked by a male rhino in the beginning of this year. Veterinary doctors tried to save her life but she died after three days, according to CNP officials. Conservationists blame the CNP administration for its apathy to construct wildlife hospital to save wild animals.

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