Mobile app being used for red panda conservation in eastern hills

Phidim, July 27

A mobile application is being used to keep a tab on the movement of red panda in the eastern hills.

Panchthar, Illam and Taplejung are home to the red panda, where Red Panda Network is closely working with forest guards to monitor the red cat-bear by using a specially designed mobile application.

As per the recent data collected by the network, there are a total of 218 red pandas in these districts: 134 in Taplejung, 43 in Panchthar and 40 in Illam. The figure emerged after a seven-year study conducted by the network in coordination with various organisations.

The study has identified five villages in Ilam, three in Panchthar and 11 in Taplejung where red pandas are found, an area covering 605 km.

“As the animal is on the verge of extinction due to the loss of its habitat and food, we took to mobile application as an effective measure to monitor them,” said Sunil Bantawa, executive director at Dipjyoti Youth Club, an organisation working in the field of red panda protection, adding as a part of the novel approach of protection, forest guards have been provided with android mobile sets with the specially designed software to monitor red pandas.

Once the forest guards collect necessary information about the animal, they send the details to the network.

In the first phase, 14 mobile phones were distributed to forest guards in Panchthar, while 7 and 5 mobile phones are being used in Illam and Panchthar respectively. As the paper-based reporting is inconvenient, the mobile application has been really effective in the monitoring.

In view of the possible extinction of the solitary shy animal species, community-based Red Panda Protection Programme is in force in these districts since 2011.