• photo: Dr. Axel Gebauer

    Nepal: Conserving forests and red pandas

In Brief

Location:

Kangchenjunga Singhalila Complex in eastern Nepal 

Goal:

The project aims to conserve red panda populations and their forest habitat by restoring degraded watersheds and promoting red panda stewardship among communities in Eastern Nepal. 

Conservation Value:

The red panda has been classified as Endangered by the IUCN because its wild population is estimated at less than 10,000 mature individuals and continues to decline.  The Kangchenjunga Singhalila Complex in eastern Nepal provides connectivity between protected areas in India and Nepal, is an important biodiversity hotspot of global significance and supports approximately 25% of Nepal’s Red Panda population, as well as Chinese Pangolins, Snow Leopards, and Himalayan Brown Bears. 

Threats:

Habitat loss and fragmentation, poaching, and inbreeding are all taking a toll on the red panda population in Nepal.  This species shows poor survival rates in fragmented habitat as they do not readily find new feeding grounds in a highly fragmented landscape and are exposed to other threats when crossing unsuitable habitat. Poachers pose a threat in Nepal and Myanmar to satisfy the Chinese demand for the species (as wild meat, for medicine and for skins) and smaller population fragments, such as in Nepal, can support little or no off-take.  A growing human population in the Eastern Himalayas means more people are moving into red panda habitat to pursue their livelihoods. 

photo: Michael Owyang

Actions & Results:

  • Train 60 Forest Guardians who will engage in red panda monitoring and anti-poaching patrolling to reduce threats to red panda and other wildlife.
  • Manage the red panda habitat by establishing nurseries, preventing forest fires and restoring degraded water sources. Approximately 2000 ha of degraded red panda habitat will be improved through restoration of degraded water sources and reduction in forest fires.
  • Establish alternate income generating activities in forest communities including ecotourism and bio-briquette production. 25 families will benefit from red panda based ecotourism and bio-briquette commerce will provide income to 50 families and reduce fire wood consumption.

Project Field Partner:

Red Panda Network in Nepal

Size of Area Involved:

174,035 hectares (430,050 acres)

Cost:

ICFC commitment for 2017: US$29,942

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