Thanks to Giving Tuesday support, RPN will expand to core habitat areas in Western Nepal. But this is just the beginning.
On November 27th, 2018, people all over the world gave generously and helped Red Panda Network (RPN) raise over $20,000 on Giving Tuesday. All donations were matched by RPN partner, Medway Charitable Trust.
"This made a huge impact for the wild red pandas of Nepal," says Ang Phuri Sherpa, RPN Country Director. "We are very moved by the global response to declining red panda numbers."
Despite our tremendous progress—the PIT Protected Forest and increased red panda sightings in Eastern Nepal—global red panda numbers have declined by 50% over the last 20 years. This is expected to continue unless conservation initiatives can turn the tide.
Thanks to the unprecedented support on Giving Tuesday, RPN will be expanding community conservation programs to Dolpa, Rolpa and Rukum districts of Western Nepal in 2019. Education, outreach and capacity-building activities among rural communities will be implemented first. This approach will follow the same community-based model initiated in Jumla, Jajarkot, and Kalikot district of Western Nepal this year.
In 2016, RPN completed a national red panda survey in Nepal. This study evaluated the status of red pandas throughout the country's entire red panda range, as well as identified potential population hotspot areas. We found that the Western Complex accounts for 53.02% of the habitat that is available to red pandas in Nepal.
The survey also assessed threats to the viability of this species. "Habitat loss and fragmentation were the primary concern. But poaching of red pandas is becoming more and more common. It is harming an already vulnerable species " says Sherpa.
The drivers of these threats are poverty and lack of awareness.
RPN will educate the people of Dolpa, Rolpa and Rukum districts on the importance of conserving red pandas and protecting their habitat. We will partner with local schools and radio stations to get the message out. We will also organize a workshop for journalists of these districts so they are informed of our efforts.
We will also address poverty by providing economic opportunities that promote stewardship and sustainable living.
Funds raised during Giving Tuesday is also supporting the world's largest and most comprehensive effort to stop the illegal red panda trade. RPN will educate stakeholders on the rising presence of illicit red panda trade and expand our anti-poaching network in these new districts.
RPN must also respond to rampant deforestation in the region. Sherpa continues, "Unfortunately, much of the habitat available to red pandas in Nepal is still located outside of protected areas. Forests are fragmented and red pandas become vulnerable as they move between patches of habitat in search of food."
RPN needs your help to improve red panda habitat connectivity in Dolpa, Rolpa and Rukum districts. We will reforest and restore degraded core habitat and establish a forest conservation nursery in the area.
Please help us raise $60,000 to save red pandas in Western Nepal. Your tax-deductible, year-end gift will automatically be doubled, thanks to our matching gift partners — Happy Hollow Park & Zoo and San Francisco Zoo — your gift will have double the impact for the first panda.
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