The park wetland is not a permanent marsh but manually maintained by a series of dykes and embankments and is fed by a dam outside the park boundaries. This allows the various eco-systems to flourish equally well but is dependent on water extraction upriver – which has been a major political and environmental issue over the last decade, severely affecting the park in drought years.
Unlike other parks and sanctuaries in India, Bharatpur has no buffer zone to restrict human intervention into the park from the villages located around it. This has led to serious problems with encroachment and cattle grazing which still continues despite being banned in 1982. The ban also created an issue with over running grass that now chokes water channels and outlets.
The road that led through the park has now been relocated outside its boundary thus reducing pollution and animal deaths by passing vehicles.
The Siberian crane, a rare specialty, that migrated to the entire Indo-Gangetic plans no longer comes to the area due to heavy poaching all along its route from Siberia to Bharatpur. In more recent history the human conflict and wars in the Middle East and in Afghanistan and Pakistan has also been a major factor in the disappearance of the Siberian crane from the area.
A non-native plant, water hyacinth locrina was introduced as a decorative plant in the early 1960s. However, over the years the plant has taken over the water systems, clogged inlets, outlets and has become a major menace. All attempts to curb the menace have been unsuccessful.