About Us | Founder | Contact Us | Safari Lodge | Newsletters | Leadership Team

   THE IWCS 2008 NEWSLETTER

    THE 2007-2008 WINTER SEASON: A NEW GROUNDWATER WATER HOLE, THE FINAL RESTORATION OF RANI TAL AND THE IWCS EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM

    The winter seasonís annual work began in November 2007, when Peter Byrne flew to Nepal. There, his daughter Rara, taking a brief sabbatical from her senior year at Portland State University, joined him and together they set about instituting the work of the next phase of the International Wildlife Conservation Society (IWCS) WATER FOR WILDLIFE program, which centered on two new groundwater waterholes, a project generously funded by the American Himalayan Foundation.

    The two new holes were to be created within the White Grass Plains Wildlife Reserve, (the WGP) the park where IWCS concentrates all of its projects and the first part of the work consisted of a determination of the best sites for two new holes. Previous studies showed that the north central terrain of the park, one of its driest areas, was the place with the greatest need for water and from a base at the IWCS/AAS (Academy of Applied Science) Safari Lodge & Research Center, at the edge of the park, this was thoroughly surveyed by Peter and Rara, on foot and via a 4X4 Suzuki vehicle.


    For both feasibility and economic reasons, groundwater waterholes are best excavated within ground depressions, or hollows; this means less earth-moving and a better chance of finding ground water. When field work survey within the selected area discovered there was only one such place, it was decided, instead of creating two holes, the normal size of which is 50 meters by 25 meters each, to make one of twice these dimensions, or 100 meters X 50 meters.

    All of the IWCS WATER FOR WILDLIFE waterholes created to date have used manual labor, the projects thus bringing work and income to local villagers. However, groundwater excavations cannot be created in this way, simply because laborers cannot dig in water. So in this case, a diesel-powered backhoe was used, with the addition of two dirt-removal dump trucks.

    The full project, with its surveys and field work, took one month, with excavation being carried out to a depth of 4 meters and groundwater, with a depth of 1 meter, being reached at 3 meters. This 1 meter depth of water will of course rise to as high as 3 meters during the monsoon. In the dry season it will probably fall again to the depth at which it was found but, being groundwater, will be permanent and, as such, an excellent source of drinking water for wild animals in the area. This was being clearly illustrated, within a week of the completion of the work, by the appearance of a group of the shy forest nilghai (Blue Bull antelope), drinking at the hole.


    The new waterhole has been named RARA POKRI, the word pokri being Nepalese and meaning a small lake, or pond, and this coming winter a plaque will be erected at the site, naming the new waterhole and crediting its sponsors, IWCS, and the American Himalayan Society.


<<< >>>


<<< >>>

    Supporters of the work of IWCS over the years in the WGP will recall the rehabilitation project via which the beautiful lake of Rani Tal, destroyed by a manmade canal, was restored to its former state with a project supported by the American Himalayan Foundation. The initial work of repairing the lake was successful. However, soon after its waters returned to normal, surface weed appeared over much of the lake, to the detriment of many species of water bird which require weed-free water for habitat. In 2006, and again in 2007, a resolute effort was made to remove the weed and Peter Byrne personally financed and directed two determined efforts to do this, with two projects that employed scores of villagers to manually gather the weed and haul it out and dry and burn it.


    Both projects were carried out in the hot, dry pre-monsoon month of May, when lowered water levels allowed human access to the lake, as a result of which the final outcome of the work could only be determined after the following monsoon. Now at last it can be reported that the work has been successful, for when the 2007 monsoon raised the water levels once again, ninety-five per cent of the surface weed failed to return, leaving the lake, this last winter, with a clear surface that allowed the return of many birds and at the same time gave us another success story for the ongoing IWCS, WATER FOR WILDLIFE program.


<<< >>>

    The IWCS educational program in Nepal continues with the addition, in April of this year, of yet another deserving child to its school program. This little girl, Yeshoda Bandhari, whose two brothers are IWCS-sponsored students at the Shivalik School in Mahendranagar, in far west Nepal, was, thanks to the generous interest of IWCS supporters, happily enrolled at the school as a border and in an educational program that is planned to carry her (like her brothers) all the way to and through college.


<<< >>>


Click here to see the other newsletters