On 16th February 2019, 8th World Pangolin Day was celebrated at National Trust for Nature Conservation (NTNC), Lalitpur. The event was organized by Small Mammals Conservation and Research Foundation (SMCRF) in collaboration with Ministry of Forests and Environment (MoFE), WWF/USAID/Hariyo Ban Program, Zoological Society of London (ZSL)-Nepal, Himalayan Nature, Hoste Hainse and Taronga Foundation, Australia.
The program was chaired by Deputy Director General Mr. Gopal Prakash Bhattarai, DNPWC. The chief guest was Honorable Member of Parliament, Subash Chandra Nemwang. Similarly, the guests were Professor Karan Bdr. Shah, and Head of Department, Central Department Zoology, Tribhuvan University, Professor Dr. Tej Bahadur Thapa. The event was participated by about 150 people representing different organisations, universities, Community Forests Users Groups, women’s group, medias and schools.
The program commenced with the welcome note from president of SMCRF Mr. Sagar Dahal. The main highlight of the event was the launch of two books: “Pangolin Monitoring Guidelines for Nepal” and the book with collection of school students’ art and stories “Salak Ani Salakharu”, felicitation to the citizen scientists, distribution of prizes to the winner school students and distribution of award to the winners of ‘Small Mammal Research Fellowship-2019’, and appreciation to community forests and schools who supported in the pangolin conservation programs.
Honorable Subhash Chandra Nembang appreciated the conservation movements to conserve pangolins in Nepal and stated the need of new technologies in these efforts. Likewise Professor Karan Bahadur Shah and Professor Dr. Tej Bahadur Thapa also put forward their experiences and thoughts on Pangolin conservation. All the winners of art and story competitions were awarded the prizes. The theme of the art exhibition was influenced by innovative ideas about the conservation of pangolins which were all created by school students during inter-school art competition organized in different schools of Kathmandu valley in 2018. The stories were compiled altogether as a book publication including the original arts of the students.
Similarly, the local community people who had been playing leading role through their active participation in the research and conservation of pangolins in the valley were felicitated as citizen scientists as our gratitude and for their commitment for the long term monitoring and conservation of pangolins in their area; from Kathmandu district – Mr. Ranjit Ghimire, Baghabashila Community Forests Users Group (CFUG), Mrs. Sushila Ale Magar, Laglagepakha CFUG, and Mr. Shiva Kumar Baniya, Gumalchauki CFUG, from Lalitpur district – Mr. Kamal Bahadur Bista, Bisankhu Narayan CFUG, Mrs. Shova Puri, Godawari Kunda CFUG, and Mr. Prakash Khatri, Patalechhap CFUG, and from Bhaktapur district – Mr. Sanjeev Thapa, Taudalchap CFUG, Mr. Loknath Sapkota, Hariyali CFUG, and Mrs. Renu Tamang, Sepilo Pakha CFUG.
Total five university students were awarded the “Small Mammals Research Fellowship 2019” to support their dissertation research on small mammals. The fellowship award winners for this year were Mr. Rabin Bahadur K.C. from Balkumari College, Chitwan, Ms. Shruti Shakya from Central Department of Zoology, Kirtipur, Ms. Sony Lama from Naaya Aayam Multi-Disciplinary Institute, Ms. Sumana Chhetri from Institute of Forestry, Hetauda and Mr. Sachin Regmi from Agriculture and Forestry University, Rampur, Chitwan. SMCRF congratulates the award winners, felicitated community leaders, fellowship winners and all the schools, school students, CFUGs, universities and organizations for their support. The “Small Mammals Research Fellowship” was initiated with support from Dr. Shant Raj Jnawali family which this year received supports for two additional fellowships from Hoste Hainse and one additional fellowship from Anna Durrance Bagale from UK. The fellowship call is announced every year to prioritize the research on species lacking baseline, information on its natural history and more importantly focusing the research and conservation of small mammals of Nepal.
The event was wrapped up with closing remarks from the chairperson of the event, Mr. Gopal Prakash Bhattarai.