A red panda being fitted with the GPS satellite collar. Sonam Tashi Lama, Red Panda Network.
PANCHTHAR, June 6: Ten red pandas in the jungles of Sandakpur area of Ilam district have been fitted with radio collars. The collaring attached to six female and four male red pandas is expected to supply the authorities even the minute information on the activities of these shy and rare creatures.
According to the authorities, the GPS-satellite collaring took three months – September to December 2019.
"This is a great step toward red panda conservation. The equipment will help us to monitor them. It gives us all details about their activities," said Man Bahadur Khadka, the director general of the Department of Forests and Soil Conservation. He added that the red pandas were fitted with such equipment for the first time in Nepal.
According to him, the collar attached to their necks will supply information for a year. For the lack of proper monitoring, red pandas have become a soft target of poachers and smugglers.
Red pandas, which survive only in high altitudes, are found in very low numbers worldwide. Nepal is considered a safe haven for them. However, poor management in community and government owned jungles have taken its toll on them.
According to Ang Puri Sherpa, director of Red Panda Network, which extended technical and financial support to the project, the satellite connection is going to make a difference regarding the safety of these beautiful animals. "It is our pleasure that radio collaring has become successful, it is vital for their conservation," he said. "A five-year red panda conservation program of the Nepal government is ongoing," he added.
The network has been studying the status of red pandas in different districts of Nepal.