World Wetlands Day 2005 -- Nepal

01/03/2005

Wildlife News Update
8 February 2005

Bird Festival Celebrated

WWF Nepal Program joined hands with the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation, Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve, local, national and international NGOs/INGOs, and other local bodies and celebrated the Fifth National Koshi Tappu Birds Festival from 2-6 February 2005 at Koshi Tappu.

The festival was celebrated with awareness activities such as coordination meeting of local bodies, recognition of individuals committed to bird conservation, art competition, cultural exhibitions, promotional rallies, publication of an inventory of wetland birds, and distribution of promotional material. The activities were aimed at promoting the awareness of the importance of wetland biodiversity and enhance coordination among community-based organizations and the local people for bird conservation.

Situated in the floodplains to the Sapta Koshi River in Southeast Nepal, the wildlife reserve is a Ramsar site and supports 479 species of birds, 31 mammal, and 117 species of fish. During the last fiscal year (July 2003-June 2004), 1,205 national and international bird enthusiasts visited the Ramsar site. The wetland of international importance was declared a Ramsar site in 1987.

- Basant Subba


Wildlife News Update
4February 2005

WWF Nepal Program Celebrates World Wetlands Day

WWF Nepal Program joined hands with partner conservation organizations and celebrated the World Wetlands Day on 2 February 2005 by organizing a sensitization workshop for environmental journalists in Kathmandu. The theme of this year's Wetland Day was "There's wealth in wetland diversity - don't lose it".

The secretary of the Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation (MFSC) Mr. Ananta Raj Pandey, who chaired the session, urged the participating journalists to promote awareness for the conservation and wise use of wetlands of the country. Director General of the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Dr. Tirtha Man Maskey pointed out the need for the support of all sector and mobilization of local communities for effective conservation and management of the country's wetlands. Likewise, the country representative of WWF Nepal Program Dr. Chandara P Gurung stressed on the need to put equal importance to wetlands conservation as forests and species conservation. He also informed about the recent initiative of WWF Nepal Program for fresh water conservation.

Miss Nepal Payal Shakya, who has worked as conservation ambassador for WWF Nepal, emphasized on conservation education for the wise use of wetlands.

Apart from launching of posters and releasing a book on wetlands, flyers and stickers were distributed on the Day to promote wetlands conservation. A documentary on Bees Hajar Tal (Lake) was also screened on the occasion.

Until 2004, Nepal had only one Ramsar Site - the Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve. The wildlife reserve lies in the floodplains of the Sapta Koshi River in East Nepal and serves as an important resting place for migrating birds. It also supports the last surviving population of wild water buffaloes in the country. Three more wetlands - Bees Hajar Tal, Ghoda Ghodi TaL and the Jagadishpur Reservoir - were designated as Ramsar Sites in 2004. All these three wetlands of international importance fall in the Terai Arc Landscape.

The National Wetlands Policy of His Majesty's Government of Nepal aims to conserve and manage wetland resources wisely and in a sustainable way with local people's participation. It also aims to put the conservation and management aspect of wetlands conservation within the broader framework of environmental protection.

The follow-up meeting of the Conference of Parties (COP-8) held in France form 1-7 November 2004, lauded Nepal's initiative for the formulation of wetlands policy. Nepal happened to be the first country in the Hindu Kush Region to have completed the preparation of a national policy for wetlands conservation.

-Basant Subba

"There's wealth in wetland diversity
- don't lose it!"

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