MYAGDI, August 28: Locals of Gurja in Dhaulagiri Rural Municipality until recent used to hunt the endangered red pandas due to lack of awareness and identification. Later, conservation campaigns conducted by various organizations made them realize the importance this rare species.
Awareness for the protection of red panda has been rising with the efforts for Red Panda Network (RPN), Himali Conservation Forum and World Wildlife Fund (WWF)-funded Hariyo Ban Program.
According to Jhak Prasad Chhantyal, chief of Dhaulagiri Rural Municipality- 1, Gurja, researchers of RPN located the habitat of the red pandas in the community forests of Lulang, Gurja and Jaljala after finding the excreta of the endangered species.
These days, locals and students have joined hands with different social organizations for the protection of red pandas after realizing their importance.
Recently, red pandas were spotted in various parts of Mudi VDC. According to Chhantyal, Dhaulagiri Rural Municipality will provide regular training and allocate required budget for the conservation of pandas.
In order to reduce the threat of hunting and poaching of the rare creature and promoting tourism, RPN has been conducting awareness programs for its conservation and strictly monitoring the entry and exit of people in Dhorpatan Hunting Reserve.
As per the preliminary research, as many as 55 red pandas have been spotted but as many as 200 of them are expected to exist in various community and national forests of the country.
The conservation campaigns have played a significant role in declining the rate of poaching of pandas as well as other wild animals in the district. Chief of the rural municipality, Chhantyal, stated that the conservation of any species is not possible without the co-operation of the locals.