Project Leader: Tulshi Laxmi Suwal, PhD

Location: Bagmati Province

Funding Agency: Whitley Fund For Nature

The project aims to tackle the threats to pangolins in Nepal by increasing our knowledge of those threats by promoting conservation awareness among the human communities and diversifying their livelihoods. Pangolin is the most traded mammals in the world. Local illegal hunting and forest fires are increasingly recorded to threaten this species and its habitat in the country. Terai lowlands and Siwalik hill ranges are more vulnerable to the wildfires which are better known habitats for pangolins. However, the impacts of forest fires on wildlife are currently being neglected by local and national agencies. We aim to conduct the detailed surveys in three habitats such as forest fire impacted forests, non-impacted forests, and resilient forests of 10 communities’ forests in three wildfire prone districts of Bagmati province in central Nepal. The study will assess abundance of pangolins through key informant interviews, line transects survey as well as camera trapping. Training workshops on habitat monitoring, fire monitoring and control, plantation and monitoring will be organized and ten ‘community pangolin conservation groups’ will be formed. The trained local people will be involved in research, awareness, monitoring as well as control forest fires. Fire extinguisher gears will be provided to these groups. Door-to-door conservation awareness campaigns will be conducted to aware about 200,000 people throughout this region. Around 20,000 saplings including that of fruits, medicinal plants and broad- leaved trees will be planted and monitored for a year for habitat restoration. Also, seed money will be provided to community through their microfinance for pig farming and leaf plate production to empower local communities and diversify their livelihoods. The loss of pangolins and their habitat would be more severe without this WFN support. Thus, this project is very crucial for the sustainable and long-term local level conservation of pangolins and livelihoods in Nepal.