Snow leopard-Human Conflict Resolution Program in Annapurna Conservation Area, Nepal

The snow leopard has been recently categorized as vulnerable, it is top of the food chain in the Himalayas and is a species of global conservation concen. Recently, common leopard have also been recorded from the range of snow leopard and the range of the Himalayan grey wolf also overlaps that of snow leopard. All these species attack livestock. The habitats where these species occur is also the grazing land of the livestock of the local people. Livestock husbandary is the primary livelihood for these people who live in some of the world’s most remote villages. A serious conflict situation arises when livestock is attacked by one of these predators. The livestock owners tend to focus on the snow leopards as the cause of their loss and herders may resort to the retaliatory killing of snow leopards by poisoning the carcasses of snow leopard prey or setting foot traps. These actions have caused a decline in the numbers of snow leopard. This conflict situation could be resolved if local people were made aware of the importance of using improved corrals and using then when predators are most likely to be active. For example; if Yak calves were corraled before sunrise, predation would be reduced. The situation could be further improved if the herders were made aware of habitat selection by predators. Therefore, we have designed the program to initiate a herders network, to support them with portable corrals to enclose calves and to improve permanent corrals (predator proof) for adult livestock, to distribute predator repellent lights and to initiate an awareness program for the herders (provision of maps indicating zones vulnerable to higher levels of predation and information about predator activity cycle etc. ). These programs will be piloted in Gnwal and Ghyaru villages within Annapurna Conservation Area and then extended to other remote villages in Manang and Mustang .

Promoting Ecotourism for Red Panda Conservation in Central Nepal

Ghyangphedi village located to the south-east of Langtang National Park in Nuwakot district is only the nearest settlement from red panda habitat in Indreni Buffer Zone. Recent upsurge in poaching and trafficking of red panda hides in Nepal (Nepal Police arrested 70 people and confiscated 52 red panda skins, with 23 cases just in 2016, from 2013 to March 2017) indicate towards lack of conservation awareness and livelihood opportunities fueling threats to this threatened species in the area. Therefore, the project targeting sustainable livelihood improvement through red panda based ecotourism promotion has been conceptualized to benefit both underprivileged local families and endangered red panda. This project based on the Red Panda Network’s Community Based Red Panda Conservation Project of Eastern Nepal, will comprise following activities:

  • Production and endorsement of red panda based eco-tourism and homestay management guideline
  • Homestay management training on homestay operations, cuisine, hygiene and sanitation, hospitality etc. (n=30 families)
  • Nature guide training (n=15 persons)
  • Gear and equipment – binoculars, support to nature guides (n=15 sets)
  • Fuel efficient stoves for home stays (30 families)

Forest Guardian Program in Western Nepal

The project targets the Jumla, Kalikot and Jajarkot districts with non-protected status in the western complex. This area is an important geographic region as it provides habitat connectivity for red pandas between Rara National park in the west, Shey Phoksundo National park in the north and Dhorpatan Hunting Reserve in the east. The proposed area is under tremendous threat because of habitat loss, degradation, and poaching. Red Panda Network with the goal of maintaining viable population will implement Forest Guardian Program since 2017, where 40 local forest users will be trained as citizen scientists acting as local forest guardians. They will regularly carry out monitoring and share the information with their respective Community Forest User Groups (CFUGs) on quarterly basis (every three months). This will help assess effectiveness of community’s intervention and adopt further measures/strategies to address the threats. Besides, these FGs will also help in awareness building of local people and anti-poaching operations as they are also trained on anti-poaching investigation techniques. This project based on the RPN’s Community Based Red Panda Conservation Project of Western Nepal, will comprise following activities:
 Training on monitoring techniques (3 events)
 Gears – Summer/winter outfits; field boot and back pack (n=40 sets)
 Equipments – GPS, binoculars (n=40 sets)