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    Double Issue. May-August, September-December 2003

    In Nepal, where IWCS carries out its wildlife conservation programs, there are basically two seasons. One is the dry season, which is November through May; the other is the monsoon, or wet season, which is June through October. During the monsoon, torrential rain essentially stops all  projects; again, as this is the rice growing season, it is often impossible to get labor. So, for the most part, IWCS closes its operations in Nepal at this time, opening them up again in November. Hence this combination newsletter, which includes the non-working summer period.

Probably the most successful of last season's projects was the Hidden Springs waterhole. Monitoring sources report to us that elephants now use it regularly, as well as tiger and Swamp Deep, the new pool being located at the edge of the grasslands of the park, wherein live the 1500 plus animals of the WGP Swamp Deep herd. On the right is a picture of the new waterhole, which, as was explained in previous newsletters, is fed by a powerful and perennial spring, from deep underground.

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Plans for the coming winter, some of which were detailed in the last newsletter, will consist of four major projects. These will include:

One: Two new water catchments (like the Nilghai Water Catchments built last year) using old, winter-dry river beds. (See illustration below)

Bottom picture shows a winter-dry river bed after it has been cleaned, deepened and widened. Top picture shows a completed dam and spillway; a local gang (local village men) stand in front of the completed work.

Two: Three new waterholes in the eastern part of the park, from water sources that will be fed by old, existing artesian bores found on the site of villages that were relocated outside the park when it was recently extended in that direction (See illustration below)

These pictures show the bores, or deep wells, with their iron exit discharge pipes, that the planned project will convert into waterholes for tiger and other wildlife, in the Hirapur area. The bores are 75 years old and have a discharge that has remained constant all this time.

Three: The restoration of an abandoned and derilict lake, called Bhat Puri Lake, which due to the relocation of several villages under the parks expansion programs, now lies within the park. The lake will be cleaned of debris and dead brush and old trees, a broken bank will be repaired, its discharge channel will be redesigned and a spillway will be built to control the monsoon discharge. (See illustration below)

Top picture, the dried and abandoned lake bed; trees in the background mark the original shoreline. Bottom picture, measuring for the spillway that will be built at the end of the discharge channel and that will control the lakes new water levels.

Three: Bhat Puri Lake, continued:

Top Picture, the lake's discharge channel showing its broken banks and its bed, filled with mud; it will be redesigned and rebuilt. Bottom picture, measuring for repairs of one of the breaks in the lake's southern banks.

Work will also include the expansion of an existing waterhole in the central grasslands, the closure of an environmentally hazardous canal in the same area, and the design and implementation of an anti-fish poaching program.

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None of the above, of course, would be possible without supportive funding and we are delighted to say that once again the American Himalayan Foundation has stepped in and, with a substantial grant-supplementary to some of its grant monies left over from last season’s work-has once again funded the work of The International Wildlife Conservation Society. The society’s Executive Director, Peter Byrne-who this winter will be spending his fiftieth winter in Nepal-of which forty-seven have been in the White Grass Plains-will once again operate the projects in the field, starting in early November.

1. Clockwise: A wild elephant charging Peter Byrne in March; the animal was in musth. 2. Signboard at the entrance to the park. 3. One of the strange, giant fish of the park’s jungle river. 4. Winter visitors from Australia and NZ, Philip Fry and Terry Berrecloth, who took these pictures.

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Sponsors of the International Wildlife Conservation Society’s work in Nepal will remember a major project undertaken by the society in recent years. This was the complete restoration of the beautiful lake of Rani Tal, deep in the heart of the park. Dead, dry and abandoned when the work started, it was really quite extraordinary how quickly the lake’s resident wildlife returned. Within a year the big mugger crocodiles had reappeared and within eighteen months the fish were back. In March, 2003, we were delighted to see the first gharials, the long-nosed, fish-eating saurians of the Terai, also back at the lake.

Supporters of and contributors to IWCS projects in Nepal, are welcome to visit and see work in progress of the society’s Water For Wildlife projects. Peter Byrne, (left) will be in the field through this winter, operating from his safari camp on the deep jungle Bauni River, in the heart of the park. For a campfire visit with a one time hunter turned ardent conservationist, contact IWCS.

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The American Himalayan Foundation, for its most generous and ongoing support of the society’s projects in far west Nepal.

The Department of National Parks and Wildlife of Nepal, and its sterling Director General, Mr. Tirtha M. Maskey, for interest and support of the society’s work in the Nepal Terai.

Ms. Holly Hines, of Atlanta, Georgia, Member of the IWCS Marketing Board, for her great enthusiasm and assistance in the society’s fund raising efforts.

Ms. Karen Gough, of Atlanta, Georgia, Chairperson of the IWCS Marketing Board, for her contributions to fund raising and her continued support of the society in its work.

Mr. Tom Dadras, of Los Angeles, for once again most kindly assisting us in the design and implementation of the IWCS web site.

Ian and Carol Kay, of Denver, for their ongoing efforts on behalf of the new safari lodge.

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