Banke students run risk of wild animal attacks

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By Siraj Khan,Nepalgunj, Apr. 19: Students studying in schools located within the buffer zone areas of Banke National Park are facing a dangerous situation due to the growing number and movements of wild animals. 

Tarka Khatri, the Headmaster of Bal Shiksha Higher Secondary School in Kohalpur Municipality Ward No. 13 Bharaiya, said that the risk of encountering wild animals rises when students travel to and from schools of the buffer zone areas of the park during the evening and morning hours.

According to Karki, the park authorities and related agencies believe that it is everyone's responsibility to ensure the safety of the children studying there by fencing open schools that are currently unfenced. 

A total of 18 schools, ranging from primary to secondary levels, are in operation in the buffer zone areas of Banke National Park (BaNP).

With the rise in the population of wild animals in BaNP, it is natural to encounter the animals while passing through the buffer zone areas.

 Gahendra Khadka, chairman of Banke National Park Buffer Zone Area Management Committee, said that the general public should also be educated about the behaviour of wild animals and ways to protect themselves from potential attacks from wildlife.

He said that concerned agencies have been organising various programmes in recent times to ensure the safety of school students and locals in the buffer zone areas of the park from risky situations. 

Umesh Paudel, Conservation Assistant of the National Trust for Nature Conservation, Banke, suggested that students could mitigate potential risks by walking in groups rather than walking alone.

He suggested that both parents and teachers should consistently educate children about forest conservation and the associated risks, advising them against venturing into the forest randomly and encouraging them to travel in groups if they must enter the forest.

Ensuring the safety of school students in the buffer zone area of BaNP necessitates action from both the local government and the park authorities. It is crucial to fence unfenced schools and implement special programmes for the safety of students and others.

Similarly, to prevent potential attacks from wild animals students and other community members are advised to travel in groups. However, locals are calling for stakeholders to take immediate action for a long-term solution to the looming risk of animal attacks while working or passing through the buffer zones. 

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