Conservation

RPN works closely with local communities to develop conservation programs that help support their economic well-being, as well as preserve the environment.

Sustainable Livelihoods

Economic opportunities in the high-mountains are scarce and those that do exist often contribute to the degradation and loss of red panda habitats.

Forest Guardians

RPN works closely with local communities to develop conservation programs that help support their economic well-being and preserve the environment. The Forest Guardian program is the centerpiece of our efforts. Forest Guardians work with their communities to protect monitor and protect red panda habitats and educate their communities. The Forest Guardian program is directly supported by donations from people like you! Learn how you can help support our Forest Guardians.

Forest Guardians during training in Eastern Nepal
Forest Guardians during training in Eastern Nepal

Anti-Poaching Network

Poaching is a serious threat to red panda populations. RPN’s Anti-Poaching Network, led by our Forest Guardians, is helping us fight back. Forest Guardians work alongside local community organizations and government agencies to conduct anti-poaching investigations. This includes patrol red panda habitats, remove traps and snares, educate locals on the importance of red panda conservation, and report poaching activity to enforcement agencies. These efforts have helped us decrease trap and snare presence in the PIT corridor of Eastern Nepal by 60% since 2015.

Anti-poaching training
Anti-poaching training

Forest Conservation Nurseries

RPN has established a Nursery Guardians program to create nurseries in degraded forest areas for growing bamboo, and medicinal plants. These nurseries help generate jobs, increase local incomes and reduce pressure on forest resources by providing a sustainable source of non-timber forest products (NTFPs) for the local communities.

Nursery Guardian
Nursery Guardian

Micro Enterprises

We help communities earn a living and support their families by purchasing sustainably sourced handicrafts and products and selling it through the RPN online store and our wholesale partners.

Organic tea and handcrafted earrings.
Organic tea and handcrafted earrings.

Organic Farming

RPN distributes seeds and provides greenhouses to help improve local agricultural yield. These high-value crops help farmers increase food production for their families, and offers sustainable income generating opportunities by allowing them to sell to their communities.

Participants of organic farming training.
Participants of organic farming training.

Ecotourism

RPN ecotrips are not only incredibly popular with tourists, but also gives our local partners a sustainable income source, by providing homestay services and serving as nature guides during ecotrips. We provide guidance and training to our homestay owners, and have expanded our ecotrip program to now offer opportunities to experience Himalayan culture and wildlife in five different geographic areas.

Photo by Rafael Salvador during 2018 Phototrip to Nepal.
Photo by Rafael Salvador during 2018 Phototrip to Nepal.

Bio-b​riquette Production

Bio-briquettes are used with improved cookstoves to help reduce consumption of firewood, offering an alternative fuel source for cooking and heating. RPN provides educational and technical training for the rural communities in Nepal on converting dry biomass into char powder that can be used to make quality charcoal briquettes. Once pressed, the bio-briquette becomes a much more efficient and less polluting energy source. Locals can also produce briquettes to generate income by selling them in local markets.

Biobriquettes
Biobriquettes

Nettle Fiber Extraction Training

The Allo (Girardinia diversifolia), commonly known as the Himalayan nettle, is an abundant plant that produces a fiber that can be woven to produce goods for sale. RPN leads trainings with marginalized families, so they can develop the skills needed for extracting the fiber to create new income streams and opportunities.

Thread-making during nettle fiber extraction.
Thread-making during nettle fiber extraction.

Habitat Protection and Restoration Programs

Improved Cookstoves (ICS)

RPN provides locals with fuel efficient cookstoves that reduce firewood consumption and air pollution. ICSs can also be easily dismantled and transported to new locations (a particularly useful feature for herders). These cookstoves have contributed to a 50% reduction in fuelwood consumption and local deforestation, reduced indoor air pollution, and improved space heating.

Women cooking in improved cooking. stove
Women cooking in improved cooking. stove

The Drinking Water Project

Many families in the PIT corridor that have little-to-no access to clean drinking water, and often need to travel into red panda habitats to gather water. RPN has launched a drinking water project where we are providing reverse osmosis (RO) filters. Access to clean drinking water will help protect families from health risks and reduce human encroachment into red panda habitats. RPN is also restoring ponds and other fresh water sources to reduce competition between people and red pandas over water supplies.

Pond restoration site in Panchthar district.
Pond restoration site in Panchthar district.

Restoring Degraded Red Panda Habitats

Forest degradation and fragmentation are major threats to red panda populations in the PIT corridor. RPN, in collaboration with local organizations and government agencies, has planted trees and vegetation (including bamboo) to rebuild red panda habitats and regenerate food sources.

Forest restoration in Eastern Nepal.
Forest restoration in Eastern Nepal.

Forest Fire Fighting Teams

Forest fires are a significant risk to both red pandas and local communities. RPN organizes community forest firefighting teams consisting of Community Forest User Group (CFUG) members trained in combating forest fires and educated on fire types, causes, effects and preventive measures. RPN also provides forest firefighting tools to the team members. These efforts have helped increase awareness among CFUGs on how to prevent fires, and the adverse impacts on biodiversity.

Forest fire management training in Taplejung district.
Forest fire management training in Taplejung district.

Sustainable Herding

Livestock herders need timber regularly to build and maintain herding stations, and are a major cause for red panda habitat loss and degradation in Eastern Nepal. Additionally, livestock that graze in the forests  directly compete with red pandas for food sources. RPN is working with local herders to reduce their dependency on timber. We have designed an improved gooth (livestock shed) that includes a portable canvas tent and modern cooking stoves to replace the inefficient herding stations.

Portable herder tent designed by RPN.
Portable herder tent designed by RPN.

Livestock Herding Management Committee

RPN is also supporting sustainable herding practices by working with CFUGs to form a livestock herding management committee that supports the adoption of more environmentally sustainable herding practices. This committee helps educate herders on modern herding methods including stall-feeding,  improved sanitation, and proper management and disposal of livestock waste. RPN also provides fodder seedlings to local herders to encourage stall feeding and reduce the need for forest grazing.Learn more:

  • Watch documentary on RPN's sustainable herding program in Eastern Nepal.
  • Read Improved Cookstoves for Red Panda Stewards
Cow-yak grazing in Eastern Nepal.
Cow-yak grazing in Eastern Nepal.

Free-Roaming Dogs

Feral, hunting and herding dogs have been identified as major threats to red pandas in Eastern Nepal. We have received reports of these dogs killing red pandas. Dogs can also carry rabies and canine distemper virus which are fatal to red pandas. RPN has partnered with the District Livestock Service Centre of Ilam and Taplejung to implement a neutering and rabies vaccination program for these herding, feral and pet dogs.

Learn more: Free-roaming dogs: a major threat to red pandas.

Local forest user and dog.
Local forest user and dog.