As an initiative to implement the Wildlife Friendly Infrastructure Construction Guideline 2022, Project Agreement for the construction of Wildlife Crossing Bridge in Babai irrigation Canal, Basanta Khata Corridor, Bardiya was signed jointly by Dr. Ghana Shyam Gurung, Country Representative of WWF Nepal Country Office and Mr. Susheel Chandra Acharya, Director General, Department of Water Resources, and Irrigation on March 21, 2022.
Department of Road (DoR) has initiated the construction of wildlife crossing underpasses at Ramnagar in Mugling Narayan Ghat Section of East West Highway. These are the first underpasses constructed to facilitate safe movement of wildlife and prevent Wildlife Vehicle Collisions.
As per the study carried out by WWF under its Hariyo Ban program (from August 2017 to June 2018), 15 different mammals’ species such as Asian palm civet, Barking deer, Spotted deer, Common leopard, Crab eating mongoose, Indian crested porcupine, Indian grey mongoose, Jungle cat, Leopard cat, Rhesus macaque, Sambar, Small Indian civet, Indian grey langur, Wild boar, Yellow throated marten were recorded using the underpasses. Other non-targeted avifauna species such as Peafowl, Black kite, Yellow billed blue- magpie, Large billed crow were also recorded.
Considering the ever-increasing casualties of wildlife due to vehicle collision, the government of Nepal prepared a Wildlife Friendly Infrastructure Construction Guideline 2022 – following a participatory approach - that was endorsed by the Nepal Government through cabinet of ministries on 10th
March 2022. This guideline is the first of its kind that stresses on the need to plan and construct wildlife friendly linear infrastructures in Nepal. The guideline describes approval process for study, planning and design, implementation, observation, operation and maintenance and sustainability including basic standards of these infrastructures.
This guideline standardizes the design, maintenance and mitigation processes and practices for the construction of wildlife friendly linear infrastructures. Besides, yielding intended wildlife friendly infrastructures, this guideline also provides financial, environmental, and ecological benefits.
WWF is pleased to extend its support to the government in its efforts to construct these wildlife friendly infrastructures following the Wildlife Friendly Infrastructure Construction Guideline - 2022 in the highways and irrigation canals. As an initiative to implement the Guidelines, Project Agreement for constructing Wildlife Crossing Bridge in Babai irrigation Canal, Basanta Khata Corridor, Bardiya was signed jointly by Dr. Ghana Shyam Gurung, Country Representative of WWF Nepal Country Office and Mr. Susheel Chandra Acharya, Director General, Department of Water Resources, and Irrigation on March 21, 2022. This is the first time a construction of this kind is being planned for irrigation - immediately after the approval of the Wildlife Friendly Linear Infrastructure Guidelines.
During the agreement signing event, DoWRI - DG Mr. Acharya said “huge investment has been planned by the department for constructing irrigation projects annually that passes through protected areas system of Nepal. Mr. Acharya has expressed interest in receiving technical support from WWF, particularly in designing safeguards in irrigation projects and continuing institutional collaboration with WWF in the days to come. He applauded WWF’s credibility, expertise, past performance, and dedication in biodiversity conservation. He also highlighted the need to complement WWF’s expertise and governments resources".
WWF’s Country Representative Dr. Ghana Shyam Gurung expressed his commitment to extend technical support for adopting and developing model wildlife friendly irrigation canals. He stressed on the need to institutionalize greater collaboration and coordination between conservation and development organizations in the coming days to ensure adoption of sustainable wildlife friendly infrastructures.
Dr. Gurung further added, "This joint initiative between WWF and DWRI for the construction of wildlife friendly infrastructure will be a pilot project in Nepal, which we hope will help guide the future trends for the construction of such infrastructures and will present Nepal as a model nation for sustainable and wildlife friendly infrastructures in South East Asia."