Conserving Red Pandas in Western Nepal

Timeframe: 2018 - 2021
Country/Region: Nepal
Partner: Red Panda Network

Red panda is a flagship species of the Eastern Himalayan eco-region with its distribution limited in five countries – China, Myanmar, India, Bhutan and Nepal. Although red pandas are protected by national laws in all the range countries, their numbers in the wild continue to decline. Main drivers of this decline are habitat loss and fragmentation resulting from unsustainable harvesting of natural resources, livestock herding practices as well as agricultural conversion. Another threat are feral dogs that reportedly kill red pandas via direct predation and disease transmission. Lastly, confiscations of red panda have become more frequent in the past few years, suggesting an increase in the poaching activities.

The project implemented by Red Panda Network focuses in an area located in western Nepal which has a non-protected status but provides connectivity to three different protected areas in the region. The goal is to target all identified drivers of habitat loss, fragmentation and poaching by working with all relevant stakeholders – especially the local forest users – to develop local stewardship to strengthen red panda conservation in western Nepal. The main objectives are the following

  • Assess red panda distribution, abundance, habitats, existing and emerging threats and to identify conservation hotspots for this species
  • Start community programmes to restore habitat through improved livestock herding, afforestation and dog vaccination; communities will also benefit from alternative livelihoods initiatives, including improved cooking stoves and ecotourism
  • Set up long-term community-based monitoring and anti-poaching in 40 community forests