Taplejung villagers gear up to protect Red Pandas

Taplejung, November 17:

With a view to help conserve Red Pandas, which are facing threat of extinction, people of Yamphudin VDC within the Kanchanjunga Conservation Area Project (KCAP) in Taplejung have begun a tree plantation campaign to protect the jungles, the habitats of Red Pandas.

The locals have started planting paryang trees in land near their houses so that they will not have to depend on forests for firewood and forage, and further destruction of forests could be prevented.

The villagers realised the threats to Red Pandas when the animals started running here and there whenever they visited the forests to collect firewood and forage.

Villagers used to go to the jungle, populated mostly by malingo plants, to fetch firewood and grass.

“Red Pandas started running away whenever we went to the jungle. So we started planting paryang in land nearby our houses so as to stop our frequent visits to the jungle.”

“After realising the fact malingo forest is the key to the survival of Red Pandas, we started plating paryang in our own land as an substitute to visiting the jungles to collect malingo,” the locals said in one voice.

“We have adopted a slogan — ‘Let’s stop visiting the jungle to collect malingo and preserve Red Pandas’,” they said.

Red Pandas, live in the bushes of malingo plants. They eat young shoots of the plant. Red Pandas hide themselves in the buses in the daytime and become active in the night. They also don’t like human presence.

Wildlife expert Badri Binod Dahal said that the planting of paryang plants will certainly help in the conservation of Red Pandas. Red Pandas, which are usually found at an altitude of 1800 to 3800 metres above the sea level, are found in Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, India, Laos and China. In Nepal, Red Pandas have been protected in Langtang National Reserve, Makalu Barun Conservation Area, Sagarmatha National Reserve and Kanchanjunga Conservation Area, the KCAP said.

The initiative taken by the locals of Yamphudin village is quite praiseworthy for the conservation of Red Pandas, KCAP manager Bheshraj Oli said.