Sponsor a Forest Guardian

Forest Guardians are the key to the future of red panda: they work within their own communities to create a Community Forest Network, which empowers local people to protect their forests.

Forest Guardians (FGs) are local people who are paid to monitor and protect red panda habitat, as well as educate communities. The payment they receive supports their families and their experience as an FG helps them build capacity for sustainable income and environmental stewardship.

RPN has 100 Forest Guardians: 76 in the PIT Red Panda Protected Forest in Eastern Nepal and 24 in our new project area in Western Nepal.


Sponsor a Forest Guardian:

Menuka Bhattarai

Ms. Menuka Bhattarai is one of five female Forest Guardians on a  team of 95. As a woman from a rural town in the Taplejung district of Eastern Nepal, she didn’t have many opportunities beyond household chores. She then learned about red pandas from Red Panda Network’s outreach efforts and began to witness the deteriorating conditions of the forests around her village. It soon became her dream to conserve red pandas, and through true determination and courage, Menuka became our first, and currently only, female Guardian.

Menuka has faced many obstacles on her path to becoming a professional forest steward. She recalls her first day as a Guardian when she received threats from poachers and has been criticized by her family for not following the typical path of women in her village.

Today, the scenario is different. As a senior member of our Guardian team, Menuka now leads education initiatives in her village and surrounding communities on red pandas and the need to preserve them. She works with the local people in achieving attainable conservation goals that support their livelihood needs. She conducts regular monitoring of red panda habitat and reports poaching activity to local law enforcement.

Against all odds, Menuka has achieved her dream of conserving red pandas, and her work is making a tremendous impact in so many ways. The income Menuka earns as a Forest Guardian is helping support the livelihood of her family. Many of the young girls from her village look up to her and she has become an inspiration to local youth.

Learn more about her story in Menuka Bhattarai: The Firefox Guardian.

Forest Guardian Sponsorships

Raj Kumar Buda sponsored for 1 year at the $1,000 level by Beatrice Potter on December 17, 2018.
Kamal Nepali sponsored for 1 year at the $1,000 level by John Ball Zoo.
Ramesh Rai sponsored for 1 year at the $1,000 level by Andrew Cousins in honor or Emily Cousins.
Ashok Basnet sponsored for 1 year at the $500 level by an anonymous donor on September 27th, 2018.
Bishal Gurung sponsored for 1 year at $1,000 level by Cumbria Zoo Company Limited in honor of Safari Zoo on September 11th, 2018.
Shyam Tiwari sponsored for 1 year at $500 level by Hans Sigg on June 27th, 2018.
Bhakti Hang Limbu sponsored for 1 year at $1000 level by Zoo d'Asson on June 10, 2018

The Firefox Guardian

Firefox Guardian_official poster

A film by Gunjan Menon. 

This is the story of MenukaBhattarai, an unconventional wildlife warrior, who against all odds is following her heart to save the last of the red pandas.