India and Nepal collaborate for biodiversity conservation along border

Posted on
23 December 2009
Field level coordination meeting held in India’s Dudhwa National Park

The region along India and Nepal’s border hosts some of the best wildlife habitats remaining in the Indian subcontinent. The Terai Arc occupies a major portion of this border area and has the Himalayan foothills, Terai flood plains and the Bhabar tracts. In India, it is spread across the states of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, in which lie nine Protected Areas that protect three terrestrial flagship species - tiger, Asian elephant and the Indian rhinoceros. WWF-India’s Terai Arc Landscape programme with field offices in Ramnagar and Pilibhit, aims to maintain the region’s existing habitat connectivity and restore the broken ones.
A field level coordination meeting for trans-border collaboration between India and Nepal, to conserve the Terai Arc’s biodiversity, was organised at Dudhwa National Park on 15th December, 2009. The meeting was facilitated by WWF-India under its Terai Arc Landscape programme. About 50 people including officials from Uttar Pradesh Forest Department; Department of National Park and Wildlife Conservation, Nepal; Department of Forests Nepal; WWF-Nepal’s Western Terai Arc Landscape complex representatives; Representatives, Trust for Nature Conservation, Nepal; Chairman of Buffer Zone Council, Shukla Phanta Wildlife Reserve and Representatives, Katerniaghat Foundation participated in the meeting and discussed ways to strengthen wildlife conservation along the India and Nepal border.

Mr. Shailesh Prasad, Field Director, Dudhwa Tiger Reserve briefed participants on the biodiversity and management of Dudhwa. He said an action plan would be made to strengthen the conservation of tigers, rhinos and elephants in the area, based on discussions on trans-boundary issues. Dr. Harish Kumar spoke on WWF-India’s initiatives for trans-boundary cooperation at the national as well as local level. He highlighted the good coordination happening at the local level and that regular meetings were being held among the field staff and at the community level. He added that there was a reduction in different illegal activities due to these initiatives. The Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) of Kailali, Nepal mentioned about the human encroachment attempts into forests inside Nepal along the border with India. The need for good coordination at Range level and joint patrolling by forest staff of the two countries along the border was also brought up.

The meeting saw some good exchange of information and reassurances to conserve wildlife. When the DFO of Katerniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary mentioned about the saw mills operating at Gulria in Nepal’s Bardia District, resulting in illicit felling in Katerniaghat forests, the DFO of Kailali assured a prompt investigation and action. The DFO, North Kheri informed that the Uttar Pradesh Forest Department was on constant look out for any suspicious activity in the forests. He added that the Sashashtra Seema Bal (SSB) was also monitoring the international border for any illegal activities related to wildlife and that there should be a similar paramilitary force doing the same on Nepal’s side as well.

    Mr.Lab Bist, Chairman Buffer Zone Council, Shukla Phanta Wildlife Reserve informed that there was good coordination among the neighbouring communities across the borders due to regular field level trans-boundary meetings and this helped biodiversity conservation.

The meeting ended with a resolve to work more closely to strengthen conservation in this extremely important but vulnerable region.
The next field level trans-boundary meeting will be in Feb 2010, during which community representatives will also be invited.            
Learn more on WWF-India’s initiatives to conserve the Terai Arc: About work in TAL by other WWF offices:


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