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21 Feb, 2019

In a half-day visit today (February 11) at NTNC-Central Zoo, the Director General (DG) of the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), Mr. Dominic Jeremy, was facilitated by the NTNC senior team to share and exchange about conservation insights and perspectives from across the country, this along with exploring opportunities and potentials for further enhancing institutional partnerships in the future.

Accompanying the DG was also a small team from ZSL Nepal, led by the Country Representative Dr Hem Sagar Baral. Two sessions, one covering an overview of NTNC's major focus areas and projects, and another focused on the Central Zoo were presented each by NTNC's Dr. Naresh Subedi, Wildlife Biologist and Programme Manager, and Dr. Chiranjibi P. Pokheral, Project Manager, Central Zoo. Highlighted in these presentations were also NTNC's partnership with ZSL across various ongoing projects related to grassland management, transboundary tiger conservation, rhino conservation, gharial conservation and in illegal wildlife trade that have made significant contributions in the terai national parks. Along with this, the guests were also made aware about recent research developments being led by NTNC, especially related to some of the country's pressing conservation challenges caused by linear infrastructure, human-wildlife conflict and in wildlife disease.  The Central Zoo's national role and capacity in wildlife rescue and rehabilitation was also made known, with future plans of an NTNC-managed Wildlife Rescue Centre in the works at the Zoological Garden in Suryabinayak, Bhaktapur in the coming years.

Presentations were followed by discussions and inputs wherein the DG acknowledged the unique partnership and strengths of NTNC and ZSL. Here he emphasized on ZSL's three core areas of interest in the coming years leading to its bicentenary in 2026, focusing on: wildlife and people, wildlife and health, and on endangered species. Stressing about the importance of conservation-related roles "to inspire people from animals going extinct," the DG expressed his forthcoming to share ZSL's diverse and strong scientific experience across countries, cultures and conservation contexts. Dr. Siddhratha B. Bajracharaya, NTNC Executive Director further highlighted that "as wildlife research-focused institutions, both ZSL and NTNC have much to gain from each other's knowhow and expertise," and expressed optimism on furthering this unique partnership.

Following closed-door discussions with the NTNC team, the DG joined a guided tour to experience the zoo animals and the facilities in place. This is Mr. Jeremy's first visit to Nepal since his appointment as Director General in late 2017. NTNC and ZSL go a long way of working together, and it is considered an important stakeholder in the Government of Nepal's wildlife conservation endeavors.