The government is preparing to expand the area of Bardiya National Park (BNP) to double its present size by annexing 898 sq. km of forest area along the east-west highway in Dang, Nagarik Daily reported.
The area of the National Park at present is 968 sq. km.
Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal will officially announce the expansion of BNP at the inaugural function of Global Tiger Workshop, slated to start from Tuesday in Kathmandu.
The expansion of the National Park is vital for the conservation of Tigers as the area proposed to be annexed is considered an important area for habitat and food for tigers, according to wildlife experts. BNP is home to many important wildlife inlcuding the rare one-horned Rhino, Tigers and elephants.
Erstwhile Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala had unveiled plans to expand BNP as a ‘gift to the earth’ in 2000. However, the plan had not materialised due to armed conflict in the country.
Of the area to be annexed 549 sq. km will be forest area, while 345 sq. km will be buffer zone. Some 50 additional staff including army personnel for security will be required for the upkeeping of the additional area. It will also include 13 VDCs of Dang district.
The santuary was established in 1976 with the name ‘Karnali Wildlife Conservation’. It was renamed as ‘Bardiya Wildlife Conservation’ in 1982 and converted to a National Park in 1998.
Some 1600 families were displaced from an important Rhino habitat Babai valley while expanding the the National Park.