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)

Bearcat Study Program in Palawan Island

Until now, very little research has been undertaken on the bearcat. Most of today available data on the bearcat has been collected from captive animals whose behaviour differs from the behaviour of the ones that may be observed in the wild. Thus, we do lack knowledge on bearcat behaviour in the wild, especially regarding reproduction, raising the youth, interactions between individuals, food habits, moving patterns… Without this knowledge, we cannot develop correctly a conservation program adapted to the ecology and biology needs of the bearcat.
The Bearcat Study Program in Palawan Island is a conservation program with the aims to improve the knowledges on the bearcat in various areas (reproduction, raising the youth, interactions between individuals, food habits), to update its IUCN status in case of need using the data collected from the field, and to sensitize (by sharing the collected data) the Island residents with the collaboration of the local authorities.
From February to December 2017 : improving the knowledge on the bearcat with camera trapping using tree-climbing method. 10 cameras-traps have been set up on the tree tops (between 10 and 30 meters high) in the barangay of Langogan. Every two weeks, memory cards and batteries are replaced by two local guides employed by ABConservation. The collect and data process is maked by the scientific officer in June and December 2017.From February to April 2019: improving the knowledge on the bearcat with radiotracking
• capture of wild binturongs by means of cage-traps with live baits Marking of the wild animal captured (census)
• Taking hair samples for future genetic surveys
• Taking body measurements (height and weight)
• Equipping the binturongs with a radio-collar before their release
• From February 2018 to April 2019: radio-tracking binturongs
• Collecting of data by GPS and VHF
• 2018-2019: treatment of data by the scientific officer