Project Leader: Bishnu Achhami

Location: Manaslu Conservation Area

Funding Agency: The Rufford Foundation

Musk deer populations in the Himalayan region have been declining due to various factors such as habitat loss, poaching, and forest fires exacerbated by climate change. To address these threats, the project outlines a range of activities undertaken to raise awareness, survey habitats, conduct forest fire mitigation programs, and distribute educational materials.

One of the key initiatives is the school awareness program on Musk deer. Students were encouraged to express their conservation thoughts through essays, stories, or poems dedicated to Musk deer, ultimately leading to the publication of a book titled ‘Mriga ra Kasturiharu’. This book featured artworks and written content from students, showcasing their dedication to conservation efforts and contributing to increased awareness about Musk deer among the younger generation. The distribution of informative materials such as posters, brochures, and books played a crucial role in educating the community about Musk deer and the importance of conservation.

Additionally, survey was conducted to assess public knowledge and awareness of Musk deer and forest fires. It shows that respondents had a positive perception of Musk deer and were aware of their characteristics and conservation status. The survey also revealed concerns about forest fires in the area, with respondents highlighting the importance of public awareness, increased funding for local firefighters, and the removal of dry weeds as effective strategies to mitigate forest fires.

Pre and post-knowledge assessments was conducted to evaluate the impact of awareness programs on participants’ understanding of Musk deer. The assessments showed a significant increase in knowledge and awareness about Musk deer characteristics and conservation efforts, indicating the effectiveness of educational initiatives in promoting conservation awareness.

Community engagement, education, and mitigation strategies are important in protecting Musk deer and their habitats from threats such as poaching and forest fires. By involving local communities, particularly students, in conservation efforts and raising awareness about the significance of Musk deer, the project underscores the need for collective action to ensure the survival of this endangered species in the region.