ILAM: The community forest officials in Ilam district have decided to ramp up efforts at the northern rim of the forest in order to cap the unabated smuggling of the endangered red panda.
The red panda population is on decline with increasing deforestation, smuggling and poaching. The northern parts of the forest area still have animal farms and lush pasture used for grazing cattle.
Red Panda Conservation Officer Kumar Budhathoki said the trend of shifting the sheds in the jungle has caused deforestation and is leading to the extinction of the red pandas.
More than 70 per cent of red pandas in Nepal are located outside the conservation areas. Conservationist Finju Sherpa said they are facing challenges to save the red pandas as there are no conservation areas in mid-hilly region.
The estimated population of red panda in Nepal is 1,000. And 25 per cent of this population is found in Ilam, Paanchthar and Taplejung.