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02 Apr, 2024


In August 2023 an initiative focusing on the future of tigers, their co-predators and prey in the remote high-altitude landscapes of Nepal was started. This will be vital to prepare communities to shifting dynamics in wildlife conservation from high-altitude tigers. These high-altitude landscapes serve as critical habitats for various species such as tigers, leopards and their prey, while also supporting unique biodiversity adapted to challenging mountain environments. A glimpse of the activities being implemented under the project "Strengthening tiger conservation initiatives in high altitude landscapes of western Nepal" in Sudurpaschhim (far-western) Province is presented herein. 

The project is supported by IUCN’s Integrated Tiger Habitat Conservation Programme (ITHCP). ITHCP is an initiative implemented by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and funded by the German Cooperation via KfW Development Bank.

During the past nine months:

Major interventions have focused on engaging wildlife-affected communities in conservation through livelihood alternatives and building sensitization towards tiger conservation. Interactions were conducted with a wide range of stakeholders on developing human-wildlife coexistence measures. The Sudurpaschhim (far-western) Province is an excellent landscape with vast interconnected forest areas providing high prospects for tiger conservation in the long run. Here tiger conservation becomes even more pertinent in the context of future global warming and extensive land use changes. Mindful of these dynamics, the project has been prioritizing engagements with provincial and district-level authorities, working hard to build their sensitization and responsibilities to drive a conservation-friendly far-western landscape inside their development agenda.

To better understand the Sudurpaschhim landscape as a tiger conservation landscape:

Efforts were made to map both existing and potential biological habitats, corridors, and areas where habitat loss and degradation may threaten species survival. This mapping is critical to pinpoint key areas requiring conservation interventions. Continuous biological surveys being conducted to gather valuable data on species distribution, abundance, and habitat utilization will aid in assessing the status of tiger populations, co-predators, and the prey species in the high-altitude landscapes. Understanding population trends and ecological needs will further ensure that focused conservation strategies can be developed while monitoring their effectiveness over time. By integrating these approaches, our initiatives will conserve biodiversity, safeguard endangered species, and enhance ecosystem resilience in the remote high-altitude landscapes. 

First, people need economic security:

Targeted communities from this project are highly forest dependent for livelihood with majority coming from marginalized groups, financially poor and/or lacking income generation skills. Efforts are being made to address human-wildlife conflict (HWC) issues and uplift livelihoods of vulnerable communities while promoting biodiversity conservation. Six livelihood sub-groups/committees have been formed to improve the quality of life of such vulnerable groups that include 800 households. Selected households will get access to soft loans, following a decentralized approach that allows for tailored interventions based on specific needs and challenges of each community. Under this arrangement beneficiaries receive seed money as financial support for initiating alternative livelihood activities such as turmeric, vegetable, fruit farming, etc. In addition to finance and capacity building, households affected by livestock depredation from wildlife are being supported with predator proof corral. 

  • Visit to G. B. Pant University of Agriculture Sciences, Uttarakhand, India, as part of the livelihood training (© NTNC)
  • Seed money handover to a local alternative livelihood group in Beldangi village of Dadeldhura district (© NTNC)
  • Camera trapping in middle mountain region of Dadeldhura district (© NTNC)
  • ToT training participants (© NTNC)
  • Conservation education and awareness targeting schools in Sudurpaschhim high altitude landscape (© NTNC)
  • High altitude landscape of Sudurpaschhim Province as seen from Baitadi (© Laxmi Raj Joshi/NTNC)

Safety for both humans and wildlife:

A dedicated Rapid Response Unit (RRU) will further ensure the safety of both humans and wildlife and help in responding to emergencies within and outside of the project sites located in the high-altitude landscapes. The RRU will be a critical first-line support for carrying out rescue of injured and/or stranded wildlife and in facilitating wildlife rehabilitation and release back into their natural habitats.

Generating mass awareness and action:

26 master trainers for human-wildlife co-existence (HWCx) have been developed and mobilized as change agents from the seven-day training of trainer (ToT) sessions organized for high-altitude landscape participants. These change agents will be responsible for conducting HWCx awareness campaigns and accelerating conservation-friendly actions among scores of community members and youths. Following the training, over 30 community and school-level awareness sessions have been organized directly reaching out to more than 1000 community members and 700 students.

*Disclaimer: This project is supported by IUCN's Integrated Tiger Habitat Conservation Programme, funded by the German Cooperation via KfW Development Bank. The contents of this article are the sole responsibility of National Trust for Nature Conservation (NTNC) and do not necessarily reflect the views of IUCN, the German Cooperation or KfW.

Cover photo: [Community training on human-wildlife coexistence in Baitadi, © NTNC]