Thanks to you, this year, we have made unprecedented progress in the  fight to save the red panda. 

We have extended our community conservation programs to Western Nepal and have established ecotourism initiatives in Central Nepal. R ed panda sightings  in the Panchthar-Ilam-Taplejung (PIT) corridor of Eastern Nepal are continuing to increase and we are pleased to share that our ecotrips are running with a 100% success rate of red panda sightings! 
This is just the beginning! 
Together, we have been able to: 
Build an Anti-Poaching Network

Our Forest Guardians have been hard at work trying to stop the illegal red panda trade. They work alongside local community organizations and government agencies in conducting anti-poaching investigations in red panda habitat of Eastern Nepal. From February to April of this year, the anti-poaching network spent 174 hours monitoring 154 km in 8 Community Forests (that's nearly 100 miles!). Our hard work has paid off as we are pleased to share a

decrease in trap and snare presence in these forests since 2015. 
(Learn more about our anti-poaching efforts here.)
Anti-poaching network in Eastern Nepal.
Continue our Expansion to Western Nepal  
Our expansion into Western Nepal is in full swing. Conservation workshops in Jumla, Kalikot and Jajarkot districts have allowed us to assess local needs, educate people on red pandas, and begin to bridge the gap between red panda conservation and improved household income. 

Awareness workshop in Jajarkot district.
We are organizing stakeholder workshops and have formed 5 Roots and Shoots groups in schools in Barekot and Kuse Rural Municipality (RM) of Jajarkot district. 
people from these high-mountain communities have been educated on red panda conservation and are working with us in developing solutions to local poverty and deforestation. 

Roots and Shoots formation and red panda education.

RPN conducted a socioeconomic and awareness survey in Sinja and Patrasi RM of Jumla district; Kalika, Mahawai, Panchaljhanrana and Khandachakra of Kalikot district, and Kuse and Barekot RM of Jajarkot district. The information from this study allows us to strategically develop  red panda education and sustainable livelihood programs.  
Through a baseline red panda population and habitat survey in Jumla and Jajarkot districts we have identified 5 Community Forests where we will be implementing conservation programs.  
We organized 8 consultation and sharing meetings with members of Rural Municipality Council in Jumla, Kalikot and Jajarkot districts.  
10 hectares  of degraded land in Hile Community Forest, Jamuna district, was identified as a restoration priority through community consultation and a site visit. Following the construction of fences to prevent livestock grazing in this core habitat zone, we planted 
15,500  seedlings of red panda food and shelter species including bamboo and r hododendron. 
to Red Pandas: 
Unsustainable Herding Practices
Livestock herding is one of the major drivers of red panda habitat loss and degradation in Eastern Nepal. Each herder has between two and four herding sheds which they rotate seasonally with their livestock throughout the year. These wooden sheds require ongoing maintenance, which results in increased timber demand.
Current herding practices are unsustainable and have been identified as a major cause of habitat degradation in the region. Livestock not only degrade habitat quality as they graze in the forest but directly compete with red pandas as they eat bamboo and other red panda food species.  
Your Impact
Your support has allowed us to design and test a transportable herder tent that is replacing wooden sheds. 34 herders of the PIT corridor were identified to receive a new tent, improved cooking stove, or modifications to their existing sheds that help reduce timber demand.  

RPN has supported the formation of a herder network in the PIT corridor. We organized two meetings with network members to update them on our ongoing efforts to replace traditional stoves with improved cookstoves and herding sheds with transportable tents.   
Herder tent installed at herding station.
Conduct Important Research and Monitoring of Forests

Forest Guardians monitored 58 monitoring blocks in January and April in the PIT corridor of Eastern Nepal. They collected baseline data on red panda population, habitat status and emerging threats to the species.  

14 Forest Guardians participated in a four-day training on handling and setting camera traps in Thumke, Ilam. 

We are conducting a one-year mammalian diversity survey in red panda habitat of the PIT corridor. RPN's Forest Guardians were trained in setting up camera traps before they were deployed for this survey. 
Red panda photographed from camera trap.

Installed weather measuring instruments in  potential ecotourism locations in Dobate, Ilam and Kadebhanjang, Taplejung. Temperature, rainfall, wind speed and direction, visibility and cloud cover were recorded over a 12 months period. 
Threat to Red Pandas:  NTFP Over-Harvest
Non-timber forest products (NTFPs) are important to the livelihoods of people who live in red panda habitat. Harvest and sale of these plants provides critical income for rural families. Unfortunately, unsustainable NTFP harvest is causing forest degradation and decline of red panda food species in Eastern Nepal.

Your Impact

A nursery constituting 16 beds with the carrying capacity of nearly 30,000 seedlings was established in Eastern Nepal. We now have  10 Forest Conservation Nurseries in red panda range where local "Nursery Guardians" provide a sustainable source of non-timber forest products (NTFPs), such as bamboo and medicinal plants, to the local people. They also grow red panda food species which are planted in degraded habitat areas. Establishing these nurseries has generated jobs, increased local incomes, and reduced pressure on forest resources.
Nursery Guardian working in Forest Conservation Nursery.

Seedlings from nursery in Ilam, Eastern Nepal were transplanted to  25 ha of degraded red panda habitat in  Jaubari, Western Nepal. 
Thanks to you:

Livelihoods are Improving

Ecotourism is at the heart of our sustainable development initiatives. Local livelihoods are improved as sustainable income sources are created through an economy strengthened by a thriving ecotourism industry. Through this growth, local people are given a practical incentive to keep wild spaces wild.
One of these sustainable income sources are homestays. In December 2017, 26 homestay owners in Nepal visited Amaltari Madhyabarti Home Stay and Pipraha Home Stay, which are part of WWF's rhino ecotourism program. They learned best practices in ecotourism management. 
Homestay visit.
▶ Learn more about our homestay exposure visit in the article Rhinos and Red Pandas.  
▶ Interested in joining us for an adventure-of-a-lifetime to visit red pandas in the wild? Check out our 2018  ecotrip dates  to Nepal. Send any questions to  ecotrip@redpandanetwork.or.
Did you know?  As a member of Red Panda Network you
qualify for a 10% discount on our ecotrips (except Eco Zoo Trips). That's a $235 value! 
20 local youth were prepared for a future in ecotourism through a nature guide training we organized in Suryodaya Municipality-1, Ilam. The event was facilitated by senior nature guide and ornithologist, Hathan Chaudhary. 

A 10 day "Souvenir Training" was organized for 15 women of Ilam and Taplejung who learned various weaving techniques. Five employees from "Hojiyari (Handicraft) Udhyog" facilitated the training.

50 local families of PIT corridor were selected to replace traditional stoves with improved ones.  We have already signed a contract with a local vendor for production of these stoves, so, we may probably be able to deliver the stoves in October.

RPN restored Ponds in Timbu pokhari Community Forest (CF) and Sikharghum CF and we are in the process of restoring a pond in Kanya Devi CF. 
Communities are Committing to Conservation 

We are establishing a "Community Red Panda Conservation Network"which consists of local Community Forest User Groups (CFUGs) and will be responsible for sustainably managing all Community Forests in the PIT corridor.  
We worked with CFUGs of Manabhara CF, Sudhap Khola CF, Mamankhe CF, Lawajin CF and Vitri Sayapatri CF in Taplejung district in adopting measures that protect core habitat, regulate use of forest products, and restrict forest entry during red panda breeding and mating season 
elected representatives of the PIT corridor attended ten educational workshops where they were informed of our 2017 achievements, plans for 2018, and agreed to future coordination and collaboration. 
Participants of workshop for government officials.
We worked with 5 CFUGs in Taplejung district of Eastern Nepal in integrating red panda conservation measures into their operation plans. These measures protect core habitat, regulate use of forest products, and restrict forest entry during red panda breeding and mating season. 

In  April , RPN organized the meeting "Promoting Transboundary Level Cooperation for Red Panda Conservation along Ilam-Singhalila ridge in Kangchenjunga Landscape" in Tumling, Ilam District. 27 people, representing community groups, nonprofit organizations and enforcement agencies from Nepal and India, attended the meeting. Participants shared best practices and agreed to collaborate on community conservation and sustainable tourism strategies that address threats to red pandas along the Ilam-Singalila Ridge.
Did you know? 
Nepal has a unique "Community Forest" system of forest management? This means local people form CFUGs and are responsible for managing their Community Forest and forest resources.

RPN is currently working with 45 CFUGs in monitoring red panda populations, increasing local red panda awareness, and protecting and restoring red panda habitat.
We Are Extending Our Outreach

people living in red panda habitat have received our red panda conservation message through radio broadcasts, education workshops, youth outreach and information boards.

Red panda information board in Eastern Nepal. 

We also engaged youth of the PIT corridor  by: 
Developing a red panda conservation manual and integrating it into grade-school curriculums in Eastern Nepal. This year we have worked with 5 more schools in the PIT corridor, bringing the total to 8 schools and 272 students who have been educated on the importance of red pandas to local biodiversity. 

Working with the District Education Office, Taplejung in  organizing a training for teachers in red panda conservation lesson preparation. 
Other achievements include:

students of 27 Roots and Shoots Groups participated in the publication of their schools first red panda wall bulletin. 

389 Roots and Shoots Group students of 10 schools in Panchthar district experienced red panda habitat and received on-site red panda education through mini-ecotrips. 

62 local people participated in two red panda awareness workshops in Mehele and Sanba VDCs of  Taplejung district. 
Threat to Red Pandas -  Free-roaming Dogs
Feral, hunting and herding dogs have been identified as major threats to red pandas in Eastern Nepal. Herders can have up to four dogs guarding their livestock and hunters often have dogs to help them flush-out and retrieve their catch. We have received reports of these dogs killing red pandas. Dogs can also carry rabies and canine distemper which are fatal to red pandas and other sympatric species. 
Your Impact
In partnership with the District Livestock Service Centre of Ilam and Taplejung,we launched a neutering and vaccination program where a team of technicians performed operations on 200 dogs and 53 dogs received rabies vaccinations. 
Total of 104 dogs of Pathivara area, Taplejung were vaccinated with anti-rabies vaccination under the technical assistance of District Livestock service office. 
We couldn't have done this without you! 
With your generosity, our red panda conservation work will continue to have impact. From our staff in Nepal and the US, we thank you.
Here's to a brighter future for red pandas!
Photo by Rafael Salvador during 2018 Phototrip to Nepal.

Red Panda Network is committed to the conservation of wild red pandas and their habitat through the education and empowerment of local communities.
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