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)