Easy border crossing for tigers and elephants
The 3-km long forest corridor is located in the Terai Arc Landscape, an area of lowland savannah and grasslands along the border of Nepal and India that is home to tigers, elephants, and one-horned rhinos, as well as some 6 million people who depend on its resources for their livelihoods. Wildlife is mostly confined to national parks and wildlife reserves, many of which are too small to support megafauna populations.
One of the major goals of the WWF-initiated Terai Arc Landscape Program is to restore the corridor forests that link the protected areas of lowland Nepal and the trans-border protected areas of India to facilitate wildlife movement. WWF has joined hands with government, non-government organizations, interest groups, and community based organizations, and launched integrated conservation and development programmes to restore biological corridors through community forestry, plantation, and natural regeneration programmes.
The Khata corridor was identified as a critical area for restoration in 2000, with restoration work starting in 2001. The corridor consists of areas of good forest, degraded forest, and agriculture, and is adjoined by 11 community forests. Around 300 families live in the surrounding area. Nepal's Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation estimates that there are 40 breeding tigers in the neighbouring Royal Bardia National Park.
WWF-Nepal and the local forestry department have worked together to hand over degraded forest patches to the local community through a community forestry programme. Reforestation and natural regeneration has been enhanced to increase forest coverage within the corridor.
"Five community forests have already been registered and handed over to the concerned communities, and the handing over of the remaining forests is in process," says Mr Dhana Rai, co-manager of WWF's Terai Arc Landscape Programme.
WWF has provided support to all the community forest user groups. The plantation and regenerated forests have contributed significantly in allowing large mammals to use the Khata corridor in their seasonal movement. According to local residents, wild animals come to the corridor forest from the adjoining forests in the south during the rainy season when the flooded tributaries of Karnali River waterlog the forests across the Nepal-India border. Sightings of prey species such as wild boar and spotted deer also suggest the presence of tiger in the Khata corridor.
The Terai Arc Landscape is one of WWF's Global 200 Ecoregions — a science-based global ranking of the world's most biologically outstanding habitats and the regions on which WWF concentrates its efforts. It is also a priority area of Save the Tiger Fund, and includes two UN World Heritage sites. In Nepal, the ecoregion covers an area of over 22,288 square kilometres and includes four protected areas: Parsa Wildlife Reserve, Royal Chitwan National Park, Royal Bardia National Park, and Royal Suklaphanta Wildlife Reserve.
For further information:
Sangita Shrestha Singh
Communication Officer, WWF-Nepal
Tel: +977 1 4434820