Jagadishpur lake under encroachment threat

- Manoj Poudel, KAPILVASTU

Mar 15, 2018-

Conservationists are concerned over growing encroachment of Jagadishpur lake in Kapilvastu district. The Ramsar wetland site, which is home to many bird species, is shrinking due to constructions that are taking place in and around the lake.

Even Jagadishpur Lake Management Forum is contributing to the encroachment by starting the construction of a 10 foot tall Buddha statue in the middle of the lake.

Ornithologist Hem Sagar Baral says human activities are sure to increase in the after the statue is completed, which could disturb the birds and ruin their habitat.

“The birds will not feel safe when there is increased human activities in their habitat,” said Baral. Abdulrasid Kha, the member of the lake management forum, claimed that the Buddha statue will not affect the biodiversity of Jagadishpur lake.

“It should be taken positively, because locals can generate income and get jobs if we could attract more visitors,” he said. The forum may have started the statue project in a good faith, but it so happens that attracting more people to the lake is going to do more harm than good in terms of bird conservation, says conservationist Raju Acharya.

“It is critical to maintain the natural environment for birds and animals to thrive. Building structures for the convenience and attraction of humans is the last thing you want if you really wish to conserve the bird habitat,” he said. Laxman Paudyal, an ecologist at the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation, says before any construction takes place close to a protected area, the concerned party must take permission of the relevant authority.

The forum did not seek any such permission before starting the construction of the Buddha statue in the lake. Jagadishpur lake was recognise as the Ramsar wetlands site in August 2003. The lake is spread over an area of 157 hectares. It  is located in Kapilvastu Municipality-9, 11km north of Taulihawa, the district headquarters.

According to conservationists, of the 872 species of birds found in Nepal, more than 164, including grebes, cormorants, herons, egrets, stork, ducks and geese, terns and gulls, are found in the lake.

Birds migrate from Siberia, China, Russia, Mongolia, Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan to the area with the start of the winter and they stay here until February. More than 22,000 birds including Gadwall, Leaser Whistling duck, Tufted duck, Ferruginous duck, Northern pintail, Northern shoveler, Eurasian Wigeon, Common Pochard and Cotton Pygmy-goose were found the Jagadishpur lake this season.

Published: 15-03-2018 19:13

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