Hunters turn into ‘conservationists’

- POST REPORT, Dhading
Hunters turn into ‘conservationists’

Feb 1, 2015-

Involved in hunting, killing, and capturing of wild animals for many years in the past, people from northern parts of the district have surprisingly turned their attention toward the conservation of a particular species of animal: red pandas (Ailurus fulgens). The former hunters are reportedly troubled by the dwindling number of wild animals, including the endangered red panda, in the local forests.

Due to snowfall on the foothills of Mt. Pabil and Mt. Ganesh in northern Dhading, red pandas have lately started straying into human settlements in the area.  As they are home to dense bamboo (nigalo) forests, the foothills of these mountains create a perfect habitat for red pandas to live in.

But as sale of bamboos, used for making various household wares and decorative items in Pokhara, Chitwan, and Kathmandu, are a primary source of income for people living in high-altitude villages of Rasuwa, Gorkha, and Nuwakot districts, both the red pandas and their habitat is increasingly under threat.  

Up until the recent past, red pandas, including other wild animals, were caught in animal traps for their hides in northern areas of the district such as Ri, Jharlang, Tipling, and Sertung VDC’s, according to Sadhuman Tamang, a former hunter.

But upon learning about hordes of tourists coming to see red pandas in the Langtang area of neighbouring Rasuwa district, the former hunters have appealed to wildlife experts through the Village Development Committee (VDC) Council to devise ways to protect red pandas including other wild animals in the district.

“Attending to the demand of the locals, the District Development Committee has disbursed Rs 500,000 for research on the matter and preliminary investigation will be carried out in three VDCs in the coming months,” Local Development Officer Rudra Singh Tamang said.

Published: 02-02-2015 09:29

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