Dhorpatan Hunting Reserve: The only one of its kind in Nepal.
Dhorpatan Hunting Reserve, is the only one of its kind in Nepal. It has been a subject of infringement. Around two hundred fifty hectares of the reserve extend over Rukum, Myagdi, and Baglung District has already been intruded upon.
As per the statistics of the Reserve office, Baglung tops the chart with over 175 hectares encroached, followed by Myagdi and Rukum with 60 and 16 hectares, respectively. And though data collection was done one and a half years ago, further enroachment has gone unabated since then, said Reserve officer Bishwo Babu Shrestha.
The Reserve has declared that 3 hundred 11 households from Bobang, Nisi, Bungadobhan, and Adhikari Chaur, of Baglung District. Maikot, Hukam, Taksera, Ranma, Kol, and Kakri of Rukum District, and Lulangkhoriya and Gurjakhani of Myagdi District, who are living in fifty five settlements, have apparently intruded land.
According to sources, the encroachers are not squatters but locals with political affiliation. Shrestha said that the trend started since 1990 and gathered momentum after the Reserve office was displaced during the Maoist insurgency.
The then Maoist rebels had established a military training centre in the Reserve. “Not much has changed even though the office has been re-established now,” said Shrestha.
The Reserve believed that unless immediate measures were put in place to curb the situation, it could potentially pose a threat to the existence of the Reserve.
The Reserve had tried to remove the illegal settlements last year, however, the programme failed due to the lack of cooperation among locals and administration. ”
The task to remove them is not easy as they are backed politically,” said a local teacher Chakra Bahadur Adai. Ranger Saroj Panthi stressed that it was the need of the hour to organise a meeting with Chief District Officers and stakeholders of all three districts in order to come up with a programme to tackle the problem.
“If the security officers show concern we can create a special security programme and effectively curb encroachment,” added Panthi. But active support of the political parties and locals together can only successfully accomplish the goal, Panthi claimed.
The encroachment reportedly spead accross the area after it became a tourist destination, contributing to a rise in land prices and towards the risk of extinction faced by several lakes near the Reserve.
The tourists visiting the Reserve to hunt have had to go deep into the forest to find wildlife which was erstwhile found in the outskirts.