Chairperson Ms. Rana Awarded Environment Preservation Award 2010
Saving Chitwan National Park from ban maras
KATHMANDU, June 6:
On the occasion of the World Environment Day (June 5), she was awarded for her documentary called
“Mile a Minute – A serious threat to Chitwan National Park” produced last year on the impact of weed
mikkenia mcrantha (ban mara) on rhino habitat and the surroundings of Chitwan National Park (CNP).
The Ministry of Environment awarded her with the Environment Preservation Award for Women, 2010,
for her outstanding contribution to preservation of environment.The award was handed over by
Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal himself.
The executive chairperson of Save the Environment Foundation, Chanda Rana has been recognized for her work at home and abroad for taking on an individual struggle and initiating international awareness on the impact of deadly Mikenia in Nepal’s forest regions and especially in CNP, one of the world’s natural heritage sites.
The documentary in particular was acclaimed when it was launched in October last year by Minister for Forest Deepak Bohara. It was then screened in London to mark Nepal Conservation Year 2009 by the Zoological Society of London in collaboration with National Trust for Nature Conservation. The initiative was first of its kind.
“I felt an urgency to produce the documentary as soon as possible when I visited Chitwan seven years ago and noticed the disaster caused by Mikenia at CNP,” she told Republica after receiving the award.
The documentary produced at her personal cost is based on research of the wild weed.
It explains detail nature of this wild plant, severity of infestation at CNP and source of infestation. The documentary consists of interviews of stakeholders, experts, including officials of CNP and Nepal Army, and the locals.
The most important aspect of the documentary revolves around the threat posed to rhino population at CNP due to spread of this wild weed. Rana has screened visuals which clearly show the drastic infestation at grasslands, which thereby is affecting rhino habitat and food availability for the wild animals as well.
In totality the documentary highlights severity caused by Mikenia to the entire eco system and biodiversity of CNP. “We must work collectively as soon as possible to save the park from this infection,” she remarked.
Her work received positive response from the government after the PM himself went to CNP for inspection. Currently, besides the ministry, WWF, USAID, and other organizations have joined in her campaign.
“Since the best way to reduce its risk is by manually uprooting it, a group of 70 people participated in this drive,” Rana informed.
Weeding of wild weed was organized at Kasara where PM launched the weeding campaign as an awareness program.
Stating that the documentary will be screened at BBC London soon, Rana said, “If BBC screens it, its impact will be different. It is needed as an awareness program to tackle the problem.”
At home, Rana is implementing a ‘’pilot project ‘’ in a small area in CNP with high infestation of Mikenia to find out any other possible solutions to stop or control the infestation from spreading further.
She said her passion for conservation as a child led her to deeper research at CNP. “I used to accompany my father to Chitwan since I was eight years old and lived in camps with him,” Rana remarked, adding, “My love for nature has turned into an obsession now and I must thank my father who was a hunter and more than that a true nature lover.”
She started her first campaign by planting trees in Kathmandu, the number of which crossed thousand this year. Importantly, she planted the only remaining fossil trees of Gingko biloba in Kathmandu valley.
“I will continue my research and campaign to save CNP as long as I can,” the determined Rana said, adding, “I want to encourage young people to join the campaign now to make it a huge success and remember ban mara is growing at the rate of 20 cm per day.”