Restoring hornbill habitats in Arunachal Pradesh

Pakke Tiger Reserve and the adjoining Reserved Forests in Arunachal Pradesh, India are spread over an area of more than 2000 km2 and harbor a diverse array of plant and animal species. It is known as a haven for 4 hornbill species in India. Human activities like hunting, illegal logging, particularly outside Pakke, are negatively affecting hornbill populations and their habitat. Habitat loss due to logging is a major threat to hornbills that are dependent on large trees for nesting. This area has experienced amongst the highest rates of forest loss for India in the recent past.

With the restoration program, we hope to bring back some of the lost hornbill habitats (by bringing back hornbill food and nest trees) and secure the long-term future of these birds and other wildlife. To this end, rainforest nursery was set up in 2013 in a village near Pakke, with an aim of raising native rainforest tree species and using them to restore the degraded forest patches in and around the area. The tree species selected are important food and nest trees of hornbills and for other birds and mammals and also includes economically important species for planting by the local communities. In the past four years, we have raised around 17,000 saplings of 60 native tree species. Planting began in 2016 and a total area of 11 ha has been covered so far. Survival monitoring indicates 45-85% survival across the sites in a year’s time. Some sites show higher survival (84%) due to controlled conditions like fencing and deweeding. With such successful rate of establishment of the saplings, there is a hope for recovery of these habitats in the long-term. We hope to expand this program and cover more degraded patches in and around Pakke in the coming years.

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)