Human activities pose challenge to red panda conservation efforts

Jumla, Feb 15: Red panda conservation efforts have encountered challenge in Jumla due to latest human activities. The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) has enlisted red panda as the endangered animal. 

Growing poaching, forest encroachment and lack of public awareness have made the protection drive more challenging. This beautiful animal used to be spotted on the house courtyards in the past; the situation has changed as its sighting even in the forest has now become rare, said locals.

The Karnali Bikash Hatemalo Sewa Samaj Jumla in coordination with the Habre Network has launched the Habre conservation drive at Sinja and Patarashi rural municipalities. The society has support from over 150 community forests to this regard.

The finding of research is that a lack of separate policy to conserve this rare mammal has made the efforts challenging, said Habre Network’s researcher Saroj Shrestha.

The data puts the score of this animal at 500 and 43 per cent of its habitats lie in Karnali. According to a study, Gidikhola, Devalgaun, Tamti, Patarasi and Riya are considered as appropriate habitats for the animal, said researcher Pragati Shahi.

Unabated poaching is major threat to the existence of the animal, researchers said.

This animal is found only in 24 districts of Nepal. Need of combined efforts among security personnel, locals and journalists has been realised to check and control its poaching.

Division Forest Office, Jumla forest officer Niroj Jha sees the need of coming up with the scientific forest management programme to build a safer space for this animal. It is a mostly herbivorous one that feeds mainly on bamboo shoots.

People are yet to become much aware of the ecological importance of red panda The (mis) understanding that the disappearance of the animal from earth would cause nothing such a big loss to the ecology is still prevalent among the people. The existing law against poaching has the provision of a jail sentence from one to 10 years and a fine from 100 to 500 thousand or both against the perpetrator.

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