CHTWAN, Sept 17: The Chitawan National Park (CNP) has stepped up the security after private hotels inside the park stopped operations. According to the park officials, the absence of the hotels inside park would profoundly affect the security management as the incident of poaching was likely to increase.
“The security will be managed with the existing system however, there will be shortage of the elephants for the patrolling,” said Chief Conservation Officer, Jhamak Bahadur Karki.
The hotels inside the park had been helping the park administration with elephants and the jeeps.
The Park administration said two elephants should be kept in the eastern area of park where Machan Wildlife Resort and Chitwan Jungle Lodge were located. Similarly, two more elephants would be placed in the western area of the park where Temple Tiger Lodge and Tiger Top Jungle Lodge were located.
“We are trying to manage elephants. However, the existing security force will maintain the security. If need be, we are ready to increase the security personnel in some post,” said Karki.
Stating that administration is mulling to set up new temporary security posts and planning to increase the frequency of the security patrols, Karki overruled the need of immediate permanent security posts in the park.
The lease contract of seven hotels inside CNP expired in mid-July. Despite the mounting pressure from environment activists not to renew the lease contracts blaming the hotels for degradation of natural habitat of wild animals as well as the environment inside the park, the hoteliers had lobbied to get the contract renewed until the last moment.
Their effort went in vain after the Supreme Court issued stay order on renewal of lease to the hotels. The hoteliers had claimed that there were no negative impacts on the environment, rather the hotels inside the park had helped in conservation efforts as well as enhanced the security of the park.
Nevertheless, conservationist Basu Dhungana said that there is no need to fear as the local people themselves were vigilant against the poaching.
There are 51 security post inside the park out of which 19 are of Nepali Army and 15 are manned only by park staffs. Similarly in 17 a joint team of Army and park staffs are working to maintain security. In the 15 posts situated in sensitive areas elephants are used for the patrols.
According to park officials, the patrolling through the vehicles has become easier as the roads inside the park have been graveled recently. At a time when there were only 8 security posts in the park up to 37 rhinoceroses were killed in a year.
With the increased awareness among the locals and added security posts incidents of poaching have subsided lately.