June 13, 2024, Thursday
Nepal 1:37:26 pm

Red Panda spotted in Dhaulagiri forests

The Nepal Weekly
October 10, 2023

The red panda, a rare and globally admired wild creature inhabitants of Himalayas in Nepal, Bhutan, China mainly, has recently spotted in the Dhaulagiri forests in the Himalayan region of Myagdi. The spotting of the cute animal was captured in a video by a Subas Thapa. He spotted the wild animal while he was exploring the Jaljala forest in Dhawalagiri Rural Municipality-2, Lulang, Myagdi.

In the captivating two-minute and a few seconds video, the normally shy red panda can be seen curiously observing passersby on foot. This sighting of the animal comes after seven years of dedicated efforts of organizations like the Red Panda Network, Himalayan Conservation Forum, World Wildlife Fund, and the Green Forest Program. Their programmes were aimed at locating the elusive creatures.

Following the identification of red panda habitats, an awareness programme was conducted in collaboration with the District Forest Office and local communities, educating students and residents about the significance of red pandas. These remarkable animals, known for sheltering in tree trunks at night and resting on branches during the day, descend to the ground to feed on weeds when hungry.

So far, the actual population of red pandas in the Gurja and Lulang forests remains still unknown. They are estimated to be at a sizable number. While community-level campaigns proved effective during the Green Forest Programme and Red Panda Network’s study, the lack of regular programmes posed a challenge.

Prem Prasad Pun, chairman of Dhaulagiri Rural Municipality, has pledged to conduct a comprehensive awareness campaign to protect these remarkable animals. The video of the red panda has prompted action at the municipal level, he realised.

“We will mobilize the community to save the red panda. It’s also an opportunity to establish our region as a destination for red panda research,” he said.

The Division Forest Office Myagdi emphasized the need for a conservation committee at the ward level, public awareness initiatives, and habitat monitoring to well conserve red pandas.

The bamboo-rich forests of Gurja and Lulang provide an abundant food source for red pandas. These animals inhabit altitudes ranging from 2,000 to 4,800 meters above sea level and have been classified as an endangered species by the government.

Red pandas are legally protected under the National Parks and Wildlife Protection Act, 2029, and the Nepal government has implemented a policy aimed at their conservation through tourism from 2019 to 2023.(Courtesy: Dhorpatan Daily)