In recent years, Nepal has become a pioneer in conservation. According to WWF, Nepal has been able to almost double tiger numbers and successfully combat poaching. Especially due to the development and expansion of tourism, nature and thus the habitat of many species has gained great importance among the local population.
We cannot even imagine what will happen now due to the loss of tourism as a source of income due to Corona. Poverty is increasingly spreading and the support for the protection of nature is crumbling.
Previously, many people had emigrated to the big cities of India or the Gulf States to work in factories, hotels or on cruise ships. With Covid-19, they are no longer needed and have been sent home – back to their homeland, for example, to the extreme south of Nepal. Here – in the dense forests of the Terai Arc landscape at the foot of the Himalayas – tigers, elephants and rhinos still live. And now more people live here than before. At the same time, the families of the returnees have also been struggling to survive since the beginning of the pandemic.
WWF: “Until 20 years ago, Nepal was considered a hub of poaching and illegal wildlife trade. But determined conservation measures, which comprehensively involve the local population, have had an impact. Nepal was able to almost double its tiger numbers and successfully combat poaching. The transboundary Terai Arc landscape – at the same time one of the most biodiverse and most fragmented and threatened ecosystems in Asia – was able to recover.
Now, new cases of rhino poaching are threatening the conservation successes of the entire region. In addition, the search for food and firewood is driving people deeper and deeper into the forests. Six people have lost their lives in tiger attacks in recent months alone. They had surprised the animals in each case at their prey. The danger that the tigers will subsequently be killed out of grief, revenge or anger is great.”
Corona in Nepal threatens people – living in urban or rural areas – as well as nature.
(picture credit: Birgit Baier, most pictures are taken on the way to Annapurna Base Camp