Forest officials to ramp up efforts to save red panda

  • endangered species
- Rastriya Samachar Samiti, ILAM
While some pandas are found in the country’s conservation areas, 75 percent of potential red panda habitat falls outside the protected areas

Feb 12, 2017-Community forest officials at the northern rim of the forest areas have decided to ramp up efforts to curb smuggling of red panda, an endangered species. 

The red panda population is on the decline with increasing deforestation, smuggling and poaching. The northern parts of the forest area still have animal farms and lush pasture for cattle to graze. 

The officials say the presence of animal sheds in the jungle has been a cause of continuing deforestation. 

The herbivorous mammal feeds mainly on bamboo. But increase in human population, coupled with increased deforestation, has resulted in decline in bamboo forests, as a result red pandas are being pushed to more remote, fragmented—and often unprotected—mountain areas. More than 70 per cent of the total population of red panda in Nepal is located outside the conservation areas. 

The estimated population of red panda in Nepal is 1,000, and 25 per cent of them are found in Ilam, Panchthar and Taplejung. 

According to WWF Nepal, while some pandas are found in Nepal’s Langtang National Park, Annapurna Conservation Area, Sagarmatha National Park, Manaslu Conservation Area, Makalu Barun National Park and Kangchanjunga Conservation Area, over 75 percent of potential red panda habitat falls outside protected areas.

Kumar Budhathoki, a red panda conservationist, said the trend of shifting the sheds cause deforestation which is threatening the existence of red panda. It affects the endangered species habitat and source of food. 

The forest consumers also head out into the forest to hunt with dogs. 

Conservationist Finju Sherpa spoke of the challenges the conservationists are facing in saving the red panda as there are no conservation areas in the mid-hilly region. 

Although protected internationally and in Nepal, the red panda remains highly endangered. 

Published: 12-02-2017 08:42

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