Indo-Nepal border forest officials for better cooperation
Continuing with its aim of strengthening biodiversity conservation along the Indo-Nepal border, a meeting was organized by WWF-India on 28 July 2010 to share and discuss various trans-border issues. A total of 58 participants took part in the meeting held at Dudhwa Tiger Reserve which is situated in the Terai Arc along the border between India and Nepal. While Regional Director of Forest, Chief Warden - Sukla Phanta Wildlife Reserve, Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) - Kailali and DFO - Kanchanpur represented Nepal, the Field Director and Deputy Director of Dudhwa Tiger Reserve, as well as DFOs of Katerniaghat Wildlife Division, North Kheri and South Kheri Forest Divisions, Sub Divisional Officers (SDOs) and Range Forest Officers (ROs) of Dudhwa Tiger Reserve and Katerniaghat Wildlife Division were the participants on behalf of India.
Mr. Shailesh Prasad, Field Director of Dudhwa TR, welcomed the gathering and emphasized on a common management program for wildlife along this border. He called for better information sharing, joint patrolling as well as data collection of repeat wildlife offenders to control poaching on both sides. Mr. Rajan Pokharel, Regional Director of Nepal said passing of information to right people was very necessary to ensure timely action against illegal activities. A joint presentation on important trans-boundary wildlife issues was made by Dr. Harish Guleria (Uttar Pradesh) & Hem Tewari (Uttarakhand), WWF-India’s coordinators in Terai Arc Landscape. Mr. Aba Raj Regmi, Chief Warden- Sukla Phanta Wildlife Reserve (SWR) threw light on efforts to conserve SWR. Mr. R.K.Singh – DFO Katerniaghat Wildlife Division passed information to Nepali officers about illegal activities on the Nepal side of the border and the suspect offenders. He also stressed the involvement of local population to ensure better conservation of the biodiversity. While Mr. R. C. Jha- DFO, South Kheri Division advocated the need for a joint strategy to control wildlife crime, Mr. K.K.Singh- DFO, North Kheri Division suggested tracking activities of suspected people along the border. Mr. R.B.Chand- DFO Kanchanpur suggested meeting of Range Officers at regular intervals for better information sharing. He also called for joint questioning by Indo – Nepal officers, of repeat offenders. Mr. Sanjay Pathak- Deputy Director of Dudhwa TR requested Nepali agencies to start providing compensation to the victims of cattle lifting cases to prevent the possibility of retaliatory killing of wild animals, in particular the big cats.
During the meeting it was agreed that:
- DFOs from both sides of the border will meet on second Wednesday of each month either at Katarniaghat WLS or Dudhwa TR.
- Neighbouring ROs will meet at an interval of 15 days - on second as well as last Tuesday of each month.
- All DFOs and ROs will exchange the information on repeat wildlife offenders to prepare a dossier that can help track them.
- All participants of this meeting will sit together after six months to review the implementation of this program.
- Efforts will also be initiated to increase participation of officials from the India’s Uttarakhand state.