May 3, 2019 05:00 AM NPT
By: DB BUDHA
JUMLA, May 3: Durga Bahadur Khatri is a renowned shaman in Chandannath Municipality of Jumla. Still, a large number of people visit him believing in his power to cure their illnesses. Unlike in the past, he refers to most of his visitors to hospitals if they are suffering from critical illnesses.
What is more interesting is the fact that these days he has been using his influence in spreading awareness among the people for the protection and conservation of the endangered red panda.
"Wild animals are disappearing from the forest every single day. But no one has paid attention to protect them," said Khatri, adding, "So, we have been using our traditional dance performances and skills for spreading awareness for their conservation."
Another popular shaman Kali Bahadur Jhakri stressed that all three tiers of the government must make efforts for the conservation of the rare red pandas.
"Let's join hands for the campaign. At first, we must control rampant smuggling and poaching of animals," said Jhakri.
During a recent program organized in the district headquarters by the Red Panda Network (RPN) in coordination with Hatemalo Nepal, Jumla, Shamans, youths and women's groups had assured to do their part for the protection of pandas. Destruction of habitat, drought, smuggling, poaching, and lack of sufficient space among others have posed a challenge for the existence of this species.
Earlier, the same shamans used to suggest their visitors to use skin and other parts of wild animals for the cure of various illnesses. Even now, many people believe that their diseases will be cured if they consume a tonic made from boiling the bones and skin of wild animals.
As per the National Parks and Wildlife Reserve Act, 1973, those who kill or harm wild animals will be subjected to 5 to 10 years in prison and will also have to pay a certain amount of fine.
Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Sitaram Rijal of the District Police Office (DPO), Jumla urged the shamans to help spread awareness regarding the importance of protecting the wildlife. Red panda which feeds on bamboo shoots and leafs have been losing their habitat due to the irrational human activities.