Mountains in the Chaning World, Mountains in the Chaning World

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Community based red panda monitoring in Eastern Nepal
saroj shrestha

Last modified: 2017-08-31

Abstract


In Pancthar-Ilam-Taplejung (PIT) corridor, Red Panda Network (RPN) is conducting community-based monitoring program in potential red panda habitats since 2011. Monitoring program is being carried out in 3 districts where 59 monitoring blocks have been established. These monitoring blocks are distributed within 49 community forests. Altogether 73 Forest Guardians (FGs) trained as citizen scientists carry out monitoring on quarterly basis. Monitoring variables includes presence sign, habitat quality, and disturbances/threats. Each time 236 km is being transverse while conducting red panda monitoring. Some hiccups have been encountered while recording these data manually. To overcome this RPN recently initiated mobile application for effective field-based monitoring. Previously an average encounter rate of 1.69 signs/km was recorded in PIT corridor. We have yet to analyze the data but positive results of increased abundance of red panda signs/sightings have been reported. Frequently red panda cubs are being sighted which was unattainable during initial phase of monitoring intervention. These specify thriving population in the PIT corridor. Increased awareness and network of FGs is being beneficial in minimizing poaching induced threat. Mobile application helped in easy data sharing, data recovery, worldwide access and automatic backup. This program indicates effectiveness of a community-based wildlife monitoring program is somehow influenced by local forest users. Sustainability is the key while designing this kind of program. This program is believed to be helpful in strengthening existing and conspiring new community-based wildlife monitoring program which could be replicated in larger-scale landscape level.


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