Protected Areas of Nepal - PROTECTED AREAS OF NEPAL 1...

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PROTECTED AREAS OF NEPAL 1. Introduction The modern era of wildlife conservation in Nepal can be traced back to the enactment of the National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act in 1973. This Act assigned the major responsibility for implementation to the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation (DNPWC), whose primary objectives include conservation of the country's major representative ecosystems and unique natural and cultural heritage, and protection of valuable wildlife. The establishment of protected areas thereafter is itself seen as the response to the threats faced by wildlife and ecosystems from both natural and anthropogenic causes. The specific activities of the DNPWC include conservation of endangered species, scientific management of habitat for wildlife and creation of buffer zones in and around parks and reserves. It is also responsible for regulating eco-tourism to improve the socio-economic conditions of local communities and increasing conservation awareness through education programs. The Protected Area (PA) system in Nepal (including conservation areas and buffer zones) accounts for 18.32% of the country's total land mass. Some of these PAs are of international significance. For instance, Sagarmatha National Park and Royal Chitwan National Park were listed as World Heritage Sites in 1979 and 1984, respectively for their typical natural, cultural and landscape characteristics. The Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve, a wetland of international significance Buffer Zones are created around National Parks and Reserves to ease the biotic pressure on core areas and to promote sustainable management of natural resources. This conciliatory approach is aimed at motivating local communities through User Groups to undertake participatory management of forest resources to fulfill their needs for forest produce. Wild flora and fauna form one of the major tourism resources of Nepal. The country has 847 species of birds including 6 pheasant species, about 640 species of butterflies, 6,500 species of flowering plants and 175 mammal species. It also harbors several
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valuable plant species and herbs of medicinal importance. The country also shelters endangered species such as the royal Bengal tiger, greater one-horned rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis) , Asian elephant, gaur (Bos gaurus) , swamp deer (Cervus duvaucelli) , black buck (Antilope cervicapra) and many others. The National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act, the Forest Act, and the Environment Protection Act, as well as the regulations under each of them, have stipulated provisions for the protection of wild flora and fauna. Notably, the Constitution of Nepal (1990) specifically deals with the protection of wild flora and fauna in the country. Conservation organizations and local communities complement the government's conservation efforts.
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