Her heart beats for rhinos
SAURAHA, APR 04 - She lost her mother in a rhino attack inside the Chitwan National Park (CNP) six years ago, but this loss has not stopped Doma Poudel, 25, from working tirelessly for rhino conservation.
“Humans can think what is right and wrong, animals cannot. Rather than killing these wonderful animals for revenge, it is better to protect them for ourselves and future generations,’’ says Poudel of Sauraha’s Bachauli-6. True to her word, she has been campaigning in local communities for rhino conservation for eight years.
“I have been involved in conservation projects since schooldays,” says Poudel, an active member of the Anti-poaching Youth Awareness Campaign and Nature Guides’ Association, fondly recalling the days when she used to take part in street dramas to encourage stakeholders to conserve the endangered animals.
I was not “discouraged” even after my mother’s death in the rhino attack, she says, pointing at the tragic death that her mother met while collecting firewood and fodder at Dhumrepari inside the CNP. “On the contrary, my mother’s death made me stronger.”
Conservation of wild animals has become difficult with locals using electric wire to kill animals that enter villages, destroy crops and even kill people. “We have to make people understand that animals are entering villages because of human encroachment on their natural habitats,” says the young conservationist, who feels that wildlife conservation is impossible without involvement of local stakeholders. “Rhino poaching and habitat degradation are major threats to wildlife,” maintains Poudel.
CNP Chief Conservation Officer Narendra Babu Pradhan says man-animal conflict in major protection areas has caused increase in poaching activities. According to the CNP, 25 people lost their lives and 62 were injured in rhino attacks in the last six years.
Government compensation policy pledges Rs. 150,000 for each family killed in animal attacks and Rs. 50,000 for those injured, but protected areas are yet to get the funds meant for victims.
Posted on: 2010-04-04 09:10