This recent photo shows dried meat, a rifle, ammunitions and other tools recovered by Nepalese Army from poachers after a cross fire in Bardiya National Park.(Nirmal Ghimire/Republica)
BARDIYA, Aug 26: Bardiya National Park has been providing sanctuary not only to wildlife but also to poachers who hunt wild animals for illegal trade, it has been revealed.
Nepalese Army (NA) has recovered tents, equipment and ammunitions at various places around the park, strongly suggesting that poachers use unmonitored areas to set up camps for hunting. Such evidences are found mainly in rural and sensitive areas of Chure that are far from monitoring reach of NA and the park administration.
On Wednesday morning, when NA monitoring team headed about eight kilometer north from Bhastal Army Post, poachers opened fire at the patrol team. NA retaliated in defense as the poachers fled the scene leaving behind tents and firearms.
Similarly, security personnel of the park also exchanged fires with another group of poachers in Chure area on Wednesday at about 3 pm. According to the park office, poachers opened fire targeting the security team. And the latter also opened fire in response. A loaded homemade gun and 205 grams of explosives were confiscated from the incident site.
“The team of NA was deployed in the area after receiving a tip off,” said Ashok Bhandari, assistant conservation officer of the park. “Along with weapons, NA team also recovered three mobile sets, and 46 kg of dried meat of deer, porcupines and fishes,” he informed.
According to him, poachers have been taking advantage of difficult topography of the park areas and lack of necessary equipment required for monitoring.
Employees at the park have admitted that repeated fire exchanges between poachers and the park's security personnel have also proved thick presence of poaching groups inside the park.
“Poachers enter the forest and set up camp in areas far from the reach of security teams. They spend days in the tent while they hunt,” said Bhandari. He admitted that authorities are struggling to form strategies to discourage hunting and poaching in the park.
Rajendra Panta, chief of Ranosur Battalion, said NA has organized over dozens of operations apart from the regular ones to discourage poaching.
“We have been putting extra efforts for the conservation of wildlife. As we managed to arrest many poachers during such operations, we believe the efforts have paid up,” he added.