A red panda found in Jumla. Photo: DB Budha/Republica
JUMLA, Feb 14: With increased poaching activities and rampant destruction of habitat, Jumla district is finding it challenging to conserve the endangered red pandas.Stakeholders, in a conservation program organized on Thursday, expressed deep concern over the failure to protect red pandas even in the conservation areas.“The government should have efficient policies for protecting red pandas,” said civil society leader Raj Bahadur Mahat.
“All the local units must take the responsibility for the conservation.”Saroj Shrestha, coordinator for Red Panda Network (RPN), an organization actively involved in the conservation efforts, said red panda conservation would automatically progress if the community forest conservation programs are moved forward in an effective manner.
Red pandas are shy in nature. Their habitats are forests with nigalo bamboo, which are small-statured bamboo found in the upper mid-western parts of Nepal. Conservation of nigalo forests is vital for the conservation of the endangered animal.“Wildfires, cattle grazing, human activities among others pose great threats and challenges to our conservation efforts.
Along with poaching, domestic dogs left unchained also pose great threats to red pandas,” added Shrestha.Acting Chief Niraj Jha of the Divisional Forest Office, Jumla, informed Republica that anyone found poaching a red panda could face one to ten years of jail time and up to Rs 500,000 in fines or both, as per the national park and wildlife conservation act.
According to the Network, red pandas are found in 23 Himalayan districts of Nepal, including Taplejung, Panchthar, Ilam, Bhojpur, Khotang, Lamjung, Myagdi, Rukum, Rolpa, Jumla, Rasuwa, Sindhupalchowk and Kalkitot among others.Caption: A red panda found in Jumla