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Bardia 
National Park

Mentha, chamomille 
and lemongrass 
essential oil

Awely Technicoflor

 

Located east to the region of Terai, Nepal, the Bardia National Park is one of the largest (100,000 hectares), as well as the least visited parks of the country. Directly connected to the wild fauna reserve of Northern India by natural corridors and the numerous streams that cross it, the park extends from the hilly regions of the north to the valleys and alluvial plains of the south. 

This exceptional area is home to more than 400 bird species and 53 mammal species. These numbers include numerous endangered species such as the Asian elephant, Indian rhinoceros, tiger, leopard, swamp deer, Sarus crane or the extremely rare Bengal florican. The waters of river Karnali are also home to the Gharial and the Ganges river dolphin. 

 

Major issues

 

As everywhere else in Terai, the overexploitation of natural resources in Bardia’s region is one of the biggest threats to biodiversity. Due to high population densities, the natural spaces directly adjacent to the park are gradually turned into agricultural lands and even protected areas are subject to heavy pressures, as people use them to gather wood or to fish. This proximity also increases conflicts between human beings and the wild fauna.

Cultivated  fields are raided by elephants, people are attacked by rhinoceroses, and small livestock are preyed on by leopards and tigers. These conflicts render the villagers’ lives even tougher and fuel negative attitudes towards nature  conservation. Tolerance towards animals decreases and illegal activities (poaching and trophies) are developing, owing to the income that they provide to the struggling populations. 

 

 

The project and the prospects for change

 

The project aims to support the development of economic activities that contribute to solving human-animal conflicts on the outskirts of the Bardia National Park, improving the local populations’ living conditions, and conserving biodiversity. 

It is planned to proceed in three phases: the first one consists in studying the local communities’ influence on their environment and identifying the types and degrees of animal-caused impacts on crops. A mapping showing these pieces of information will allow for determining priority intervention areas, where several solutions will be tested: electric fences, cattle pens, community security system, etc. 

The second phase will consist in testing alternative and repellent crops adapted to local conditions: test fields will be set up to assess the animals’ reactions to the crops. Concurrently, the agricultural potential of the zone will be assessed (traditional production of essential oils is found in other areas surrounding the Park) and a profitable market research will be conducted. 

Depending on the results, the third phase will consist in training local communities on the selected crop (nurseries, farming techniques) and processing (distillation) of these new productions. 

The expected results from this project include :

  • Reduce all conflicts in the project area by reducing overexploitation of natural resources; 
  • Improve the economic situation of the area’s households to reduce anthropogenic pressures on the Bardia National Park and its biodiversity;
  • Support individuals and families who are victims of animal attacks. 

 

Committed partners

Awely is a French NGO specialized in biodiversity conservation, especially the settlement of human-animal conflicts in five countries. For the project’s purposes, it has partnered with the main Nepalese conservation NGO, i.e. the National Trust for Nature Conservation. The population living in the direct surroundings of the Bardia Park is essentially comprised of marginalized farmers from the Tarhu ethnic group and an “inferior” caste, the Dalits. As there farmland is located less than 500 meters from the forest’s edge, they are the first victims of animalcaused degradations. At the same time, their religion recommends them to protect these animals. As such, they are willing, in partnership with Awely, to find new solutions that promote both the economic development of their communities and the rational management of these conflicts.

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To learn more about this project and its 2016 key achievements, please click on this link.

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