June 6, 2018 04:00 AM NPT
By: DB Buda
JUMLA, June 6: Locals of Karnali Province have formed a special block in Patarasi Rural Municpality-7 of Jumla for monitoring and conservation of the endangered red panda. This is the first time an area has been allocated for the monitoring of red panda in western Nepal with the financial assistance from Red Panda Network.
According to Purushottam Jaisi, project chief of Red Panda Conservation Network, Jumla, a six square kilometer area of a community forest has been determined for the block.
The area was separated for observation of red panda after it was found that it was a home to the rare species. It has been speculated that the area had a large number of red pandas in the past on the basis of their feces found there.
Project chief Jaisi informed that they will study the condition and number of red pandas every three months. The block was formed on the initiative of Karnali Bikash Hatemalo Sewa Samaj, Jumla. A team of seven conservation officers led by Saroj Shrestha, coordinator of Western Nepal Red Panda Conservation Network were involved in demarcating the block since the last one week.
As per an investigative report, destruction of habitat, wildfire, decreasing sources of water among others are the reasons that have pushed the red pandas on the verge of extinction. Stray dogs wandering into the forests is also a threat to the rare species. Conservation of the community forest and red pandas is expected to contribute to the development of tourism in the area. Experts say it will also maintain ecological balance.
Caption: A notice board of red panda kept at Jumla Airport.