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PROPOSED RAIL AND ROAD PROJECTS THREATEN NEPAL'S CHITWAN NATIONAL PARK

02/10/2014

Nepal’s Chitwan National Park, home to some of the world’s largest populations of rhinoceros and tigers, may be in jeopardy due to government plans for a railroad that would cut the park in half and eight new feeder roads that would run through the area. In addition to rhinos and tigers, Chitwan—a UNESCO World Heritage site—has a number of threatened species, including four-horned antelope, sloth bears, Asiatic elephants, and the critically endangered gharial. Environmentalists strongly oppose the proposed plan; according to Hemanta Mishra, a conservationist who played a role in establishing the park, “There is no rationale for building a road or railway through one of the world’s most outstanding and successfully operating national parks.” Alternatives to the plan include constructing a railway that would run around the park or building a tunnel underneath the site, but neither option was pursued in a leaked analysis by the Department of Railways. The Nepalese government has yet to come to a decision regarding the proposed railway. For the full story, see http://news.mongabay.com/2014/0206-hance-chitwan-rail.html.