Botany professor Bharat Babu Shrestha has claimed that rising temperatures have caused non-native species to invade Nepal’s oldest national park.

For example, a flowering plant in the daisy family was rare back in 2013. However, the invasive species now cover large areas of the park, said the Tribhuvan University professor.

According to Shrestha, the increased use of fossil fuel has been heating the temperatures to the point it allows for non-native plants to invade Chitwan National Park.

“The changing climate appears to be conducive for invasive alien plants to grow faster,” said Shrestha.

The increase in invasive species in the 370 square mile park has been endangering local wildlife, park authorities said.

“Like never before, the park faces habitat loss at an alarming rate,” said Chitwan chief conservation officer Ananath Baral. “We are concerned about the wildlife’s future.”

Baral continued that the presence of non-native plants has resulted in the absence of grass in some parts of the park which resulted in the disappearance of the one-horned rhino, deer, and antelope.

In 1973, 20 percent of the park was covered in grass, However, according to a map published in 2016, the number had shrunk to only 6 percent.

According to Uttam Babu Shrestha, “plant invasion is likely to increase in the near future” as the rise of global temperatures continues.

Chitwan National Park

Chitwan National Park is the first national park in Nepal. It was established in 1973 and granted the status of a World Heritage Site in 1984. It covers an area of 952. (wikipedia)

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Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation (Nepal)

Government agency of Nepal and one of five Departments of the Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation (wikipedia)

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is a private research university in Troy, New York, with additional campuses in Hartford and Groton, Connecticut. (wikipedia)

The Earth Institute

The Earth Institute is a research institute at Columbia University that was established in 1995. Its stated mission is to address complex issues facing the planet and its inhabitants, (wikipedia)