Dhading, January 27
A joint study carried out by Mountain Conservation Forum and Red Panda Network under the Green Forest Programme has confirmed the existence of red panda in Lingjo area, which lies on the border between Myanchet Chipra and Nachet Kharka, in Tipling VDC of Dhading.
A team led by researcher Manoj Bhatta of the network had carried out a month-long study in the mountainous VDCs of the district in September/October last year. According to Bhatta, they confirmed the existence of the rare species after sighting its droppings in the area. The endangered species is found at an altitude ranging from 2,000 to 4,800 meters and temperatures ranging from 10 degree Celsius to 25 degree Celsius.
Lingjo area lies at the altitude of 3,300 meters. With the current sighting of the rare animal, Dhading is now the 25th district, where the endangered red panda is found, according to Red Panda Network.
The government has listed red panda as the second most endangered animal after pangolins. Bhatta claimed that this species is found in eastern Ilam, Panchthar, Taplejung, Terhathum, Myagdi, Nuwakot, Rasuwa, Lamjung, Manang, Mustang and Baglung districts.
Various awareness raising programmes were conducted in schools, social clubs and communities in order to raise awareness about red panda conservation.
According to Sudip Bhandari, a member of the network, students, teachers and the locals were made aware about the importance of red panda, their present situation and legal action againstn illegal poaching and smuggling of endangered animals.
“Though it is claimed that the total population of red pandas in Nepal stands at around 500 to 1,000, only 237 have been confirmed so far,” claimed Bhatta. The animal feeds on bamboo shoots.
A version of this article appears in print on January 28, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.