Help Nepal's Only Wildlife Hospital Open
Image Credit: NTNC-BCC
Nepal’s first and only wildlife hospital urgently needs your help to open.
Rhinos, elephants, leopards and tigers are among the threatened species that will be treated at the newly established hospital in the Chitwan District of the country. But as a result of the dramatic drop-off in tourism this year there is no money to pay the specialist staff.
Established by the National Trust for Nature Conservation, the hospital will be a vital facility serving Chitwan National Park and other conservation areas in Nepal. It will provide disease screening and facilitate the rescue and rehabilitation of wildlife, including animals that have come into conflict with human communities.
NTNC normally relies on revenues that come from tourists visiting the Annapurna Conservation Area and Nepal’s Central Zoo. However, COVID-19 has meant those revenues have temporarily disappeared. Dr Amir Sadaula, the hospital’s experienced wildlife vet, and specialist technician, Kiran raj Rijal, who works alongside him, are at immediate risk of losing their jobs as a result.
Without the involvement of these experienced veterinary professionals, the ability of NTNC to provide a veterinary service to the national park and beyond risks being severely compromised. This means that diseases which can affect wildlife, domestic animals and people could go undetected until they become a serious problem.
Successful coexistence of humans and wildlife is at the heart of NTNC’s conservation strategy, and veterinary expertise is key when it comes to dealing with human-wildlife conflicts. Resolving these is essential to maintaining the trust that keeps both people and animals safe.
The hospital and the veterinary team have an instrumental role to play in conservation, not just in Chitwan but in the country as a whole.
WVI founder, Dr John Lewis, has worked with Dr Sadaula for a number of years and the pair had been going to visit the Primorskie Tiger Rehabilitation Centre in the Russian Far East in Decemeber. Dr Sadaula and others involved in tiger conservation were to learn how they rehabilitate tigers that have been rescued from conflict situations - a problem throughout the tiger's range. In the meantime, Dr Sadaula has been making use of the reintroduction section of the Wild Tiger Health Centre.
We have another project, delayed by the Covid pandemic, that depends on Dr Sadaula being in position. Jess Bodgener is due to work alongside the NTNC team in order to tailor tools that are used elsewhere to identify individual leopards guilty of killing livestock, so that effective mitigation methods can be used. She is also due to investigate the prevalence of diseases like Canine Distemper Virus in these conflict areas. The results will influence mitigation actions that would be overseen by Dr Sadaula.
Dr Lewis believes that the new hospital is vital to building wildlife medicine capacity, including disease diagnosis, in Nepal. Under normal circumstances, the project is fully economically viable. However, until tourism recovers, Dr Sadaula needs to find alternative sources of funding.
Approaching WVI for emergency help, he told us that “any funding from WVI will directly support the veterinarian team working in the wildlife hospital, which will make sure that wildlife rescue and disease surveillance can keep functioning within the national park during these difficult economic times.”
Your support will secure the future of wildlife medicine in Nepal and ensure that sick and injured animals can get the treatment they need to recover and return to the wild. If you can help, please donate using this link https://bit.ly/3633hZf