Parsa National Park in Nepal prioritises grassland expansion

KATHMANDU POST – Officials of the Parsa National Park have begun prioritising the expansion of grasslands in the park to accommodate the growing population of wild animals—including various species of deer, blue bull and gaur—and to balance their numbers in the entire park.

Most of these animals are prey for predators like tigers, and an increase in their numbers will hopefully increase the number of tigers, according to Chief Conservation Officer of the park Amir Maharjan. According to the national tiger census report in 2018, the park is home to 18 adult tigers.

“After the development of grassland in the park in the last decade, activities of wild animals including endangered one-horned rhinos, tigers and wild elephants have significantly increased,” said Maharjan. The park plans to develop 200 hectares of forestland as grassland in the current fiscal year.According to the park administration, there are around a dozen grasslands in the park. Most of them cover around 10 to 30 hectares of land.

Rambhauribhata is one of the largest grasslands of the park. The grassland was developed by evacuating a settlement a decade ago. The officials have also developed Sonbarsha, Bhatha and Partappur Ramauli areas as grasslands. The human settlements of those areas were shifted to safer locations with proper management of physical infrastructures.

Conservationists said that most of the wild species need a large area to roam around freely. “If the animals find themselves in a constricted space, it will lead to infighting and even loss of life,” said Maharjan, informing that grassland is essential to maintain the ecosystem, and conserve endangered wild species.

The park covers an area of 637.39 sq km and is spread across Parsa, Bara and Makwanpur districts. It is home to 300 kinds of birds, 32 mammal species and 14 reptiles.

One of the grasslands in the park which is spread over 10 to 30 hectares of land. PHOTO: KATHMANDU POST