Local people in eastern Nepal take initiative to preserve red pandas

KATHMANDU, Jan 20 – The Red Panda Network of Kathmandu has initiated the preservation process of the red pandas at four Village Development Committees of Ilam district, in eastern Nepal.

The red pandas, one of the endangered animals, are found in the community and national forests of this district adjoining Darjeeling, the popular hill station of India.

The network has coordinated with the District Upper Hilly Herbs Corporation to initiate the preservation works of the endangered species.

In the first phase, the network has conducted survey on the animals at the community and national forests in Jogmai, Jamuna, Mabu and Maimajhuwo VDCs, informed Phinju Sherpa, field coordinator of the network, said.

“We found the panda habitats in all these VDCs.”

Sherpa said that during the study traces of mother and baby red pandas were discovered.

Three pandas were spotted at the Chentapu Community Forest of Maimajhuwo VDC during the survey, he said.

The Upper Hilly Herbs Corporation has appointed eight people from the four VDCs as “Forest Parents” with an aim of taking care of this rare animal.

The appointed parents will be taking care and working for the preservation of endangered species. The team has found around eight pandas in the areas where the team had concluded the survey process.

The attractive animal known for having shy nature are mainly found in China, India, Bhutan and Burma along with Nepal.

Local people are actively involved in the preservation of rare animals. But they said that they had not received any support from the government sector.

The community and national forests of the district have no actual records of the red panda, also known as habre in local Nepali language. With the encroachment of the forest lands and settlement of human population near the forests, the red pandas have been facing risk from humans and other animals in the recent times, experts said.

Every year, many people from the district headquarters reach the damp forests of the bordering VDCs to observe these rare red pandas.

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