Drying water sources force wildlife to wander toward human settlements

Published On: June 13, 2016 02:20 AM NPT By: DB Buda

JUMLA, June 12: About a week ago, locals of Chandannath Municipality-13 in Jumla district chased down and badly wounded a barking deer that had wandered into their village from a nearby forest in search of water. The animal was saved from death only after the locals of neighboring Chandannath VDC-14 intervened and informed the District Forest Office (DFO), Jumla.

Likewise, an endangered Himalayan black bear from Ranisain forest of Patan in the district was seen heading toward Pandav Gufa VDC of the district in search of water, according to locals. A local shepherd Purna Bahadur Kari, 64, found the animal and informed the DFO. Similarly, another endangered animal, a red panda, was seen near the district headquarters Khalanga about three months ago.

Cases of wildlife straying into human settlements are becoming more common of late. Drying up of water sources has badly affected wildlife. Prolonged drought is said to have led to the situation.

“Wild animals have started wandering off to lower altitudes even during monsoon in lack of water sources,” said Shyam Lal Mahat, assistant forest officer at the DFO, Jumla. Prolonged drought caused by rampant deforestation has been blamed for rapid drying of water sources. “Stranded animals found by us or handed over by locals are freed in their habitat after rescue,” he added.

“Even locals are now reeling under extreme water crisis. It is not unusual to see wildlife suffering from the same problem,” Mahat added further.

District Forest Officer Mohan Prasad Shrestha said all the rescued animals have been sent to their own habitat with the help of locals and police. The Himalayan bear has been sent to the central zoo in Kathmandu in coordination with the zoo officials and the DFO.

Due to wild animals wandering off around human settlements in search of water sources, wildlife officials suspect rampant hunting of the wildlife.

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