Can community mobilization for wildlife conservation work? Youths from Madanpokhara, Tansen Municipality, Palpa think that it can.
Human-wildlife conflict is one of the common issues in Nepal resulting in hundreds of injuries or even death. These conflicts arise as a result of competition in resource consumption.
On 22nd October, early in the conspicuous dusk, one of the villagers saw a snake in the coop of the hen. He screamed with fear and the villagers gathered around. People got extremely panicked after they realized it was a cobra. They retaliated and killed it with the fear of attacks which creates a bit of a monopoly in thinking. The result here is the death of wildlife because of those useless fear and anxiety.
Numerous conflict incidence still occurs in our society but only a few come to light. Such news are creating separate limelight and are increasing day by day. However, concepts and keys for happy and peace human-wildlife environment are disregarded.
Exploration has always been an interest for all where Lockdown made it easier. Pandemic propelled many youths and students to their homes and towns and created an opportunity to explore their native land.
However, Exploring with deceptive intention increases activities such as illegal hunting, poaching, and trading, cutting and logging trees, etc. These activities led humans to invade the wildlife’s territory and threaten the existence of wildlife in their own habitat as well. In the New Normal, this became a great threat to wildlife security resulting in Human-Wildlife conflicts.
The story with Cobra doesn’t follow those old trends here. Soon after the encounter, news of retaliation killing of cobra spread throughout the village. This news also reached the students, who had recently returned back to their village on vacation. Although they were late, they directly went to the site, gathered local people around, and motivated them to capture and release snakes to their habitat.
They took it in the laboratory and started studying it. “The appreciable support from Madanpokhara Polytechnic Institute, Palpa for giving us easy access to the laboratory. This helps us to study the snake easily” said Binaya Ghimire, a student of Environmental Science from Trichandra Multiple Campus.
With the guidance of Rishi Baral, Conservation Officer at National Trust for Nature Conservation (NTNC), Nepal, and other valued personnel, they were able to recover the species and were able to study further. This snake was found to be of 1.5meter long Monocled Cobra, a neurotoxic species that can affect the central nervous system. It can lead to respiratory failure or heart failure.
They handed the species to the laboratory of Madanpokhara Polytechnic Institute for educational purposes. Manish Dhakal, lab assistant instructor of the institute and his team involved, circulated the message to all the residents of Palpa regarding Snake Rescue. They informed the local bodies and disseminated the contact number of Mr. Sagar Pandey, an expert of snake rescue in Palpa.
“At the end of the day, it is sad to see such a valuable creature being the victim of public harassment. I know snakes are scary but they are an integral part of the ecosystem. They seem dangerous but they help us a lot in many many ways. So please don’t kill them. Instead, contact experts who can help you avoid the conflict. They’re part of the environment as much as you are.”, Binaya said.
Leisure time can be utilized in community-level awareness and social activities. Examples of youth action can inspire thousands and have a lasting impact as well. So, are you ready? Can you initiate constructive change at your own local level?
Information: Snake In Home? and want to call A Snake Rescuer, click here for contact details of dedicated volunteer snake rescuers from Nepal