How do we make conservation and anti-poaching beneficial for the local communities in Bardia and motivate them to become strong partners in conservation?
SDG 15 – Life on earth (click here for more information)
“Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.”
Bardia National Park (Nepal near the border with India)
Adjoining the eastern banks of the Karnali River and bisected by the Bobai River, The Royal Bardia National Park is 968 square kilometres of verdant grasslands, forests and floodplains stretching all the way to the crest of the Siwalik Hills to the north. It is also one of the world’s most important catchments of biodiversity. The Karnali-Bobai river system, with its small tributaries and ox-bow lakes, provides the perfect habitat for a dazzling array of flora and fauna to flourish.
Asiatic elephants, the critically endangered one-horn rhinoceros, Bengal tigers, swamp deer, gharials and Gangetic dolphins are just some of the mammal species that thrive here alongside over 400 species of birds. Even so, as with every other biodiverse-rich region on the planet, human influences such as increased resource consumption, habitat encroachment and illegal trade exert tremendous pressures on Bardia and Nepal.
Manoj is Founder and Executive Director of the Jane Goodall Institute Nepal. From early childhood, he has been a passionate conservationist, working with wildlife and the environment, specifically in his home country of Nepal.
For his years of leadership and dedication to conservation, wildlife rehabilitation and curbing the wildlife trade, Manoj has been honored with numerous international awards including the Jane Goodall Youth Leadership Award (2008), the 2013 Nature Conservation Award from Friends of Nature (2013), and the Future For Nature Award (2015).
Nature Nurture by Nepal Conservation Travel
Nepal Conservation Travel partners with schools internationally to organise biological field trips, wildlife volunteering placements, service learning programs and exchange programs. Nepal is a popular choice for excursions in biological sciences by virtue of being a safe, accessible country with a rich bio-diversity and immense potential for community development.
Himalayan Voluntourism (HV) is a Nepali social enterprise dedicated to the socio-economic development of rural Nepal through the transformative power of volunteering. Tourism is popular in Nepal and supports the Nepalese economy as an important revenue generator. Many tourists come to Nepal every year to experience its unique culture, adventure opportunities and the abundant nature. The staff at HV – the “boys” – help visitors combine tourism with social outreach providing a cultural experience that engages the participant in the local community.
Local communities in Bardia have suffered in many ways as conservation practice received priority in the area. Restriction from entering the local jungle (after it was declared National Park) that they depended on for their livelihood (grazing, firewood collection, fishing), increasing human-wildlife conflict (crop raiding, livestock depredation, infrastructure damage and life threats), altered ways of living and much more has marginalized the local indigenous communities. To get locals interested in conservation, there’s a need to make conservation beneficial for the locals (eco-tourism, market-based initiatives based on biodiversity etc.)
This question deals with the local views, newer opportunities for the locals compatible with their lifestyles, engagements with the authorities and so on. Enquiry based approach helps explore ideas and prospects with due consideration of local specificities that can take a shape of an appropriately sized project that could potentially be designed and lead by the students.
The following questions can serve as a starting point for the team’s investigation into the issue:
- What are the main complaints from local communities about the creation of a national park in their area?
- What impact has the creation of the national park had on poaching in the area?
- What might motivate the local population to become partners in local conservation efforts?
- What are the current strengths and assets of the area?
- What threats and opportunities might come from ecotourism in the area?
- What is the role of international organizations in protecting the fauna and the flora in the park?
The challenge for your team is to design and implement a realistic and efficient action plan aimed at motivating the local population to become advocates of the conservation and anti poaching efforts in Bardia National Park.
What if the local communities understood the benefits of their location near a unique national park? What if instead of a threat to their way of life, the park could become a source of income and pride? What if the animal populations in the park would be safe and protected from poaching? How might this impact the balance between humans and wildlife?