“Private elephants not allowed to enter Chitwan National park, says Nepalese government
The Government of Nepal is reviewing its decision to allow elephants and their handlers inside the Chitwan National Park following concerns raised by UNESCO that access of private elephants to the park could impact on the Outstanding Universal Value of the site that has been a World Heritage Property since 1984.
Director-General of the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation of Nepal Krishna Prasad Acharya said: “We will send a report on the measures and actions envisaged to UNESCO, once we have received a health check report of all private elephants from the field.”
Department officials said they work to ensure that tourism activities, such as the attraction of the privately-owned elephants, do not undermine the ecological balance and bio-diversity of the park but instead complement their conservation efforts.
Chitwan National Park is rich in fauna and flora that is typical of the lowland Terai forest area. It is also recognized as a prime habitat for the Bengal Tiger and the greater one-horned rhinoceros whose increased numbers in the recent WWF report reflects successful efforts undertaken to improve the park as a conservation habitat.
UNESCO Representative to Nepal Axel Plathe said: “We applaud the government’s readiness to comply with the World Heritage Convention in order to protect the uniqueness of Chitwan National Park.”
Nepal’s other natural World Heritage Property is Sagarmatha National Park. The country also has two cultural World Heritage properties, namely the Kathmandu Valley and Lumbini, the birthplace of the Lord Buddha.