One of the working sectors of Mithila Wildlife Trust is the Sustainable Protection of the Dhanushadham Protected Forest.
High-level information (as of 2018)
- Location: Dhanushadham District, Province No. 2, Southeast Nepal
- Total area: 360 hectares
- Wetland area: 18 hectares
- Ecological Zone: Terai
- Surveyed wildlife: Blue Bull (Nilghai) Antelope, Wild Boar, Monkeys, 30+ different bird species, 20+ snake species, Civet Cat, Porcupine, Langoor, Wild Rabbit, Jackal, Fox and many more.
- Human settlement: 10 surrounding villages
Together, Mithila Wildlife Trust (MWT), the Department of Forest (DoF) and Dhanushadham Protected Forest Council (DPF Council) work actively to restore and conserve the forest.
Learn more about the history of our conservation efforts below.
What you will find here
There is lots to do and see in the forest! The forest is family-friendly and many parts are wheelchair accessible. People of all ages can enjoy the beauty of nature, all while helping conserve the environment for future generations.
Currently, the below amenities are open to the public (as of May 2018):
- Picnic areas
- Public toilets
- Manicured gardens
- Tree Nursery
- Walking paths
- Natural forest
- Natural wetlands
- Wildlife encounters
- Administrative offices
- Forest research center
- Pond – boat rental (ticketed) and wildlife observation
- Snake & Turtles Observatory & Rescue Sanctuary (ticketed)
- Observation tower
Note: boat rental and observation of the snakes and turtles are ticketed. The ticket prices help contribute to our conservation efforts.
Restoration and Conservation of Dhanushadham Protected Forest
In 2013, a group of local environmental experts began to drive conservation change in Dhanushadham. Together, they realized the Dhanushadham forest, as well as local wildlife species, were at risk if immediate action was not taken.
On February 25, 2014, the Dhanushadham forest was officially announced as a Protected Forest. This meant that the forest could now host and start conservation efforts.
With little financial aid, MWT and the DoF began conducting hundreds of local awareness and community interaction programmes. The aim of the conversation awareness programmes were to teach local villages about the importance of conservation and wildlife protection, build community support for the cause, and increase their awareness of what was happening in their forest.
In conjunction with building awareness, MWT, the DoF, and DPF Council started to actively restore the forest and create places and spaces to aid in environmental conservation.
The Terai, the region of Nepal where the Dhanushadham Protected Forest is located, had no protected forests, and local populations had little understanding of environmental conservation.
With no prior conservation efforts, the forest had been decimated due to:
- Over grazing from livestock
- Wildlife being killed for food, protection and/or lack of education
- Tree logging for firewood and building construction
- Bark pulled from trees for fires
- Forest fires caused by burning garbage
- Land encroachment
- Mud mining
- Unofficial transportation corridors
As a result, the forest was depleted to just 8600 trees within 360 hectares, local populations of wildlife were not re-populating and there was almost no new foliage growth.
Since receiving the designation of a Protected Forest, Mithila Wildlife Trust, the DoF, and the DPF Council, along with the community and local partnerships, have been able to:
- Plant over 56,000 trees
- Save and rehabilitate the existing 8,600 trees
- Restore and create new forest foliage
- Create a secure habitat for birds, mammals and reptiles
- Educate local villages and schools about the importance of environmental conservation
- Save and relocate wild animals coming from different regions of Nepal
Mithila Wildlife Trust is now viewed as the region’s conservation authority and has become instrumental in helping other local conservation efforts such as the “Clean Janakpur. Dream Janakpur” campaign.
As a result, on May 30, 2016 the Dhanushadham Protected Forest was announced as an Open Grazing and Illicit Felling Free Forest – the only forest in Nepal to receive this designation.
This was all done by a group of local, committed environmental conservationists, with no budget.
Mithila Wildlife Trust has partnered with:
- Department of Forests
- Dhanushadham Protected Forest Council
- Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation
- Government of Nepal