Letter from the
Dear Friends of Red Panda
We have sincere gratitude for your support of our mission. Over
the first half of this year we have been working hard to fulfill it.
Over the last six months, we have added three new team members and
three new board members. Each one of these members has done amazing
work and I am honored by their dedication to empowering local villagers
and saving red panda and their habitat. Foremost, I am honored by the
dedication of our Nepal team. In just six short months, our Nepalese
team has conducted research in a remote section of far northeastern
Nepal, next to Mount Kanchenjunga, the third highest mountain in the
world, trained 13 new forest guardians, and led three ecotrips of
visitors from Hong Kong and the United States. In the US, our
dedicated team has done an amazing job supporting the Nepal team,
creating our first international awareness campaign, International
Red Panda Day, as well as managing our transition away from Earth
Island Institute to be a stand-alone organization.
On the ground in Nepal, we focus on achieving several goals at once,
conservation of red panda through community-based monitoring and
poverty alleviation by providing some of the poorest people in Nepal
with an alternative income source. Our goal is to create sustainable
income sources for villagers. We plan to do this by conducting
a carbon forestry project called Reducing Emissions from
Deforestation and Forest Degradation or REDD for short. We believe
that carbon finance is a way to fund long-term solutions to
Time is essential for us to make this happen. An energy bill
supporting REDD projects just passed the Senate and the compliance
market is being created in the US. A generous donor has given us a
$20,000 match toward starting our REDD project. If we do not
raise the entire sum by the end of September, we will get nothing.
To date, we have raised 55% of the match. Please help us by
and donating today or if you are not interested in donating online,
please send a check to:
Red Panda Network
[update 2012: new address]
1859 Powell St, Suite 100
San Francisco, CA 94133
Thank you again for your kind support and please consider sharing
this with your family and friends,
Chief Executive Officer, Red Panda Network
greetings from Nepal
am really pleased to be a part of the Red Panda Network (RPN) team
and to fulfill the organization's commitment of conservation of wild
red pandas and their habitat through the education and empowerment of
local communities. My three years of experience with camera traps
with the National Trust for Nature Conservation, and the same amount
of experience for the Darwin Initiative's community-based
participatory monitoring project, gave me substantial knowledge and
experience both on species research and community-driven project
implementation. I am very much glad to utilize my 10 years of
expertise in the field of community-based red panda conservation with
During the last six-months, the Nepal team has completed a baseline
survey of red panda and its habitat, established a network with local
conservation partners, identified and trained 13 forest guardians,
conducted an awareness campaign through meetings with local people,
eco-treks, posters as well as in print and electronic media.
In November 2009, we started community-based red panda conservation
work in the eastern Himalayan district of Taplejung, in the
Kanchenjunga region, as a continuation of our objective to build the
world's first community-managed red panda protected area. Though the
region harbors a potentially significant breeding population of red
panda, there is very little information about the population due to
the regions very difficult terrain. The region is bordered by the
broadleaf conifer forests of the Indian state of Sikkim and China to
the east and north, which creates a suitable biological corridor for
red pandas. This landscape connectivity prevents inbreeding and also
precludes a huge loss of species in the region from unexpected
disasters, as it allows for wider escape routes from affected areas.
So, the Kanchenjunga region is, ecologically, a most significant
habitat for red panda.
Because of the conservation value of red pandas and their habitat in
the Eastern Himalayan region, RPN is conducting a community-based red
panda conservation project in collaboration with The Mountain
Institute (TMI) and local conservation partners, Himali Conservation
Forum and Shree Deep Jyoti Youth. These organizations have been
working toward regional conservation for the past nine years.
At present, we completed a baseline survey of the red panda
population in six community forests of the Taplejung district. The
research team made direct sightings of red panda in the study area
and was able to catch a red panda in a camera trap, a first for the
region. We, also, have developed a community-based red panda
monitoring mechanism. We understand that local people are the
main drivers of conservation, and through their participation we will
build ownership of local resources. To ensure local people actively
participate in red panda conservation efforts, we trained 13 forest
users as forest rangers/guardians that are responsible for monitoring
red panda monthly. During the six-month period of our intervention,
we completed baseline survey of red panda and its habitat,
established network within local conservation partners and CBOs,
identified 12 forest guardians from their respective community
forests for the monitoring of the red panda based on our baseline
survey. Additionally, we conducted an awareness campaign through
meetings with local people, eco-treks, posters, news/talks from print
and electronic media.
The RPN team has been well recognized for its red panda conservation
efforts in Nepal. I am very happy to share this information with all
of you and I hope we will have more exciting news in coming years
from the region, as we are dedicated to developing the world's first
community-based red panda protected area in the eastern Himalayan
Bhagwan Raj Dahal
Participatory Monitoring Manager, Red Panda Network
International Red Panda
Red Panda Network is pleased to present its inaugural
worldwide awareness campaign, International Red Panda Day. Help us
celebrate the uniqueness of red panda by visiting one of the
zoos worldwide on Saturday November 13, 2010 or
by having a red panda party at your home or school. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how
you can participate. Our vision for the day is that you will
experience educational and fun hands-on activities about red panda
and red panda habitat. The event will be broadcast live online.
Contributions received from International Red Panda Day will support
awareness campaigns in Nepal and China, where two red pandas were recently
observed for sale at a pet store and restaurant. Please check our
for more details as they become available.
News from the Field
First Visit by a Board Member
Norman Schwab has generously shared his journal entries
and photos from his recent trip to Nepal. Norm is the first Board
member to visit the field.
Day 1 (Day 3 if you count travel)
I am delighted to be in a new country although I miss my
family dearly. I suspect that reflecting on my own mortality due to
flying the unfamiliar Gulf Air has contributed greatly to that
feeling. I arrive in the evening. It is Wednesday eve. Brian W picks
me up in the airport. We go to the hotel to get situated and then go
out for dinner followed by beers at the old Peace Corps headquarters.
Everything seems very foreign especially after the electricity goes
out at 7pm.
I finally get a good night's sleep in a proper bed.
The impending Maoist strike forces us to change my plans and travel
east so that I can make it there and back before the country shuts
down. If I thought flying Gulf Air was scary, Buddha Air frightens me
even more. I'm not usually a very scared person, I just couldn't get
the thought out of my mind that if I died in a plane crash my 3 year
old daughter would have no memory of me. (I know this because my 21
year old sister has no memory of our dad who died in a car crash when
she was 3).
Incidentally I'm flying right now but US airlines are very safe. No
I meet Bhagwan at the airport and after a short delay off we go.
We land safely in somethingpur and then the trip begins. 3 hour taxi
ride to Ilam and another 3 hour (extremely bumpy) jeep ride up to the
mountain village where we'll be staying the night. I enjoy the
trip very much but am particularly impressed with the mandate era
Range Rovers we use for transport. They are very capable despite
their age (I've done some Jeeping myself) and some are beautifully
kept, seemingly belonging in an automobile museum.
By the time we reach the village it is getting dark. Our hosts cook
up a wonderful dinner which we all enjoy. The next morning I gather
that they killed a chicken in our honor by the scattered feathers and
fresh blood. I feel bad.
We get up particularly early so that we can jeep to the peak and have
a shot at seeing the high Himal before the clouds roll in. As we jeep
up there are sections where I must get out and walk ahead of the jeep
since we are passing though Indian territory and I have no visa for
We see some wonderful views along the way but when we reach the peak
it is all clouded over. Oh well, so much for Everest.
We have some rhododendron wine up top and we hike over to a small yak
farm. We must be at elevation of close to 10000 ft.
On the way down we stop for lunch and rhododendron wine and continue
down by foot. It's about 5 hrs to the village down some very steep
slopes. I start getting a feel for the mountains and the forests. I'm
finally feeling like myself again.
When we arrive at the village we hear that someone spotted a red
panda. We go looking for it for an hour or two. We find fresh scat
but no RP. We continue hiking. I like going off of the main path/
road because it looks like a construction site. There aren't any good
paths down. I'd like to build one. It is Friday afternoon. We decide
to go down to Ilam and sleep there to maximize our chances of
catching our flight Saturday morning. We stay at a small motel in
Ilam. There are many mosquitoes in the room and they can't get out
because the windows are screened. I stay up reading and killing
mosquitoes till 2am. I killed many but not all, I get very little
We take the 3 hour taxi ride back to the airport. It costs
about $40. Although the strike has begun the airline is still flying.
Yay. Back in Kathmandu we try to plan out the next few days not
knowing if our meeting will be canceled. We decide to hike up to
Nagarpur peak since we can walk to the park. We end up taking a bike
rickshaw part of the way. I'm very uncomfortable having someone pull
us along as we sit comfortably. Against his objection I get out and
walk when the rickshaw driver pulls the bike up some of the steeper
hills. We walk another hour or so and find ourselves climbing up an
endless set of steps. Parts of the park are terribly littered.
Bhagwan and I think of ideas for getting the littered cleaned up.
The peak has a nice view of Kathmandu from a semi abandoned Hindu
temple. Abandoned by humans and somewhat depressing (I find most
ritualistic venues depressing) but frequented by monkeys who insist
that you give them your food.
We hike back down and find the Maoist preparing hundreds of torches
for their rally.
That night I discover that the Radisson next door had a small casino
downstairs. I like to gamble with foreign currency. 30 rupees feels
like a much bigger bet than 45 cents.
The strike is not over so we must walk everywhere. We
decide to walk to the nearest national park, Shivapoori NP. The
entrance is 17 km away. We start at 6am. It only takes 3 hrs. Once we
get in we have 12 km to the top. Many stairs. It gets really
beautiful after a couple of hours once we are deep in the forest. I
am thoroughly enjoying myself amongst the ancient (500+ year old)
oaks. We meet five 15 year old boys who are studying to be Hindu
priests. At least they'll get to marry and have families.
We walk steadily all the way back trying to make it before dark
(7:30pm). We get back at 9.
It is becoming clear that if we are gonna get anywhere in this
country we are not going to do it using fossil fuels. We find some
real nice bikes some guy's renting out from a locked storage room. We
secure them for the next day. They're 1000 rupees each (Not terrible).
We see the temples back near the airport walking there and back and a
visit to TMI office 20 km seems inconsequential.
We bike to the farther peak which is about 37 km away.
After 24 km we walk most of the rest of the way (I don't know how Lance
Armstrong does it). Riding down is wicked. 14 km in less than a half
hour isn't accomplished by using your breaks very much.
I think Shivapoori was nicer but it's fun biking. There's an army
base up top, a tiny temple and a huge antenna (which they wouldn't
let me climb).
I don't know how much more walking I can do. It looks like our main
meeting (which included quasi-governmental entities) was not going to
materialize. It's disappointing but we have a mock meeting with those
who were willing to get there by foot (Brian P. and the interns).
It is actually very productive because I get a more in depth review
of the issues and players.
I also have a very pleasant meeting with a scientist that Bhagwan
(and Brian W) know who is a forerunner in conservation in Nepal.
(Like my aunt Ruth was to California in the 60s).
I need to get to the airport. It's a 2 hour walk. We
take a route that takes us to the great Buddhist temple. Pretty
interesting. Still mostly mindless.
It rains for the last hour of our walk. Bhagwan tells me what it's
like when the rains really come.
I get to the airport early. Very much unlike me.
I hope to be back.
Red Panda Survey
in Eastern Nepal
The Eastern Himalayas of Nepal contain globally significant
biodiversity and are prioritized for global conservation action. We
have conducted a six-month long baseline survey of the red panda
population in the Taplejung district of North-Eastern Nepal to
establish areas for long term monitoring. The Taplejung district is a
trans-boundary district in far-eastern Nepal that borders China and
India and includes the third highest mountain in the world,
Our baseline survey focused on the community forests of
Kalikhola, Surumkhim and Yamphudin villages. The survey was conducted
in six community forests (Chawakhola community forest and Gauthale
Community forest of Kalikhola Kalipokhari community forest of
Surumkhim and Deurali community forest, Timbung Pokhari community
forest and Kanchenjunga community forest of Yamphudin)
covering an approximate area of 9000 hectares. We surveyed 1300
hectares or 14% of the study area.
We saw red panda only once during the six months of
surveying in the Kalipokhari community forest of Surumkhim at around
2652 meters (8,698 feet). We found indirect evidence of the red panda
through scat, scratch-marks, and foraging sites in 11 study blocks.
We also observed cub scat indicating that there is evidence of a
breeding population present in the study area The presence of adults'
as well as cubs scats in the plot shows the healthy population of red
panda in this range. Camera traps were set up in different locations
for the verification of red panda signs in the area. In the
camera traps we have able to capture red panda image at Chawakhola CF
of Kalikhola VDC (N 27º19' 25.8'', E 087º57' 57.4'') in elevation of
Welcome New Staff and
We are excited and honored to have two new staff members as part of
our RPN-Asia field team and three new members on our Board of
Directors. These new team members embody our values of creativity,
ingenuity and empowerment. They are integral to our goal of being the
best at community-based monitoring. Please join us in welcoming
them to Red Panda Network.
Bhagawan Dahal, Participatory
Mr. Dahal has a Master's degree in Tropical Ecology from the
University of Bremen in Germany and seven years of experience
conducting wildlife conservation research projects. For the last
three years he has worked with
Conservation Nepal, for which he managed a Darwin
Initiative community-based biodiversity conservation wetlands
project. Prior to his work with Bird Conservation Nepal he conducted
a three year camera trapping study of tiger corridors in lowland
Nepal for the
Trust for Nature Conservation (formerly the King
Mahendra Trust for Nature Conservation).
Tulsi ram Subedi,
Mr. Subedi has a
Master's degree in Ecology from Tribhuvan University, Nepal, and he
has two years experience as a field ecologist for Bird Conservation
Nepal. He is a Rufford small grantee and he conducted study on
the red panda population in the Dhorpatan hunting reserve located in
central Nepal (www.ruffordsmallgrants.org/rsg/projects/tulsi_ram_subedi).
Jon Forrester, Board
Jon joins us with
over 8 years of leadership experience in the energy industry. He
currently works in a business development role in energy efficiency
for Equilibrium Resource Management. Previously, he worked on the
buy-side of renewable energy procurement at PG&E where he
negotiated and closed large and complex renewable transactions. In
the past, he managed strategy and policy projects for solar, wind,
carbon capture and storage, and other clean technologies. He has an
MBA from the University of Michigan where he was a Weyerhaeuser
Norman Schwab, Board
Norm is a graduate in Finance from Yeshiva University. His background
includes working in structure finance at Merrill Lynch and trading
technology stocks at Schonfeld Securities. He is currently a real
estate investor. He is passionate about the world's forests and
preserving them for years to come.
Seshadri, Board Secretary
is a corporate associate at Orrick's Silicon Valley office and
is a member of the Emerging Company Group. Her
practice focuses on the representation of clean technology,
renewable energy and mobile media companies, as well as private
venture financings, mergers & acquisitions, public offerings
and public company work. She is a graduate of Stanford Law School and
New York University.
In the News
Red Panda Network has been featured in one magazine this
Earth Island Journal Spring 2010
Learn what the future holds for Red Panda Network. Read the full
version available only on our website
Below is a preview of the article.
Panda Network: Expanding and Reaching Out
Hear the word panda and images of the large black and white animal are
immediately conjured up. Giant pandas have become a worldwide symbol
for animal conservation. It is not surprising that the plight of red
panda, appropriately dubbed the lesser known panda, is largely
unknown to the public without its fair share of the media spotlight.
Name our Newest Red Panda
In February and March of this year Ocean Park Hong Kong Conservation
Fund, a major donor of Red Panda Network, sent 4 of its members on
eco-tours of our field sites. Shadow and Lianne visited the Taplejung
district while Mabel and Jaco toured the Ilam district. It was Mabel
that captured this sighting of our new red panda that needs a name.
Thanks to all who voted via email, Facebook and Twitter. Your votes
determined the last finalist that will be considered as a name for
our newest red panda for adoption. Our Nepal field team came up with
the other two finalists.
The finalists are:
1. Kanchan-Represents the Kanchanjunga Mountain where this red
2. Himal-English translation of Mountain in Nepalese
3. Tenzing-Tenzing Norgay, with his friend Sir Edmund Hillary,
became the first climbers to reach the summit of Mount Everest in
1953. Tenzing Norgay roughly translates to
The top vote getter will join Niyati, Sanju, Bhim, Sita and Pinju.
Let the voting begin! You can vote by replying to this email or on
pages. The winner will be revealed on our website in one month.
Friends of Red Panda
In this new section of our newsletter, we will feature
two red panda supporters who in their own words describe why they
love red pandas and support our work. If you enjoy reading about
supporters just like yourself, please send in your own entry to be
considered for the next issue of Red Panda Times.
I never heard of a Red Panda until I went to the San
Diego Zoo with my son, Chip, who was 12 at the time. Everyone else
wanted to see the black and white pandas and he said we should skip
them and go see the Red Pandas as they are much cuter. I still have
no idea how he knew about Red Pandas as he never would say, but
he was right! A year later he decided to help red pandas for his
Bar Mitzvah project and we found The Red Panda Network online. Brian
was really kind to meet with Chip and me and educate us about
red pandas and describe what your organization is doing to help
them. Chip sold baked goods to raise money for the red pandas and we
have loved those elusive critters ever since! I am as elusive as a
red panda when it comes to photos so please use a photo of a red
panda instead! If anyone in SF wants to buy cakes, brownies or
cookies, Chip would be happy to bake for you and donate the money to
the Red Pandas!
What's not to love about red pandas? My name is
Meredith, and I saw my first red panda at the Philadelphia Zoo about
15 years ago. He was scampering down a log, and I fell in love
instantly. Maybe it was his fluffy tail or those cute cat-like ears,
but I knew I wanted to learn all I could about this adorable animal.
Since then, I have dragged my husband to many zoos, and I love how
you can see all the red pandas have their own unique personalities if
you stick around to watch them for awhile. Be careful though, or you
may get labeled "The Crazy Red Panda Lady" as I am
affectionately called by my husband! I've even started the baby out
right--he can't wait to be a Red Panda Ranger!
Activism: Red Panda
Congratulations to our newest Red Panda Rangers! These students have
completed all five levels of tasks to fully educate themselves and
others about red pandas certifying them as official Rangers. We would
like to thank them for their enthusiasm as important members of the
Red Panda Network! To find out how to become a Red Panda Ranger
Red Panda Network educates
and empowers local communities to serve as active partners in the
conservation of wild red pandas and their habitat.
To find out more about how
you can help, please follow the links below.
RED PANDA NETWORK
FOR WHOM WE ARE THANKFUL
may be simple enough. We print the names of individuals and
organizations who have donated to the dream of red panda
conservation. And there it is - a long list of names.
At Red Panda Network, we feel strongly about this list.
As such, we'd like to briefly explain what this list means to us.
Each name mentioned below has invested in hope. They have been
selfless and kind with their earnings so that a remote ecosystem, one
which many will never see in person, has a chance to make it through
this era of unsustainable human development. Please take a minute to
read through the names to help us acknowledge each entry.
The following names are of those who have donated to the
mission of Red Panda Network from December 2008 to August 2010:
Nicole & Helena Aarts
Mai Britt Andreasen
Catie & Nicholas Arena
Jose Bento da Silva
Philip & Harna Burton
Karissa Lee Carleton
Karina Ibett Cifuentes
John Clegg, Jr.
Ron & Jean Cole
Ella de Bruijn
Lauren de Bruijn
Vincent & Eline De Munck
Martine & Simone Duffy
Mary Jo Dvorak
Aleks James Findlay
Douglas & Lillian Greer
Ms Hanson's Class
Jane Goodall Environmental Middle School 7th Graders
Lily Pei Kameny
Keleila Handelman Kerman
R. Gordon Machemer
Ciro Martinez III
Anita & Adele McLees
Yuri Cardoso Pinto Miguel
Ab Aziz Nur Areeshah
RCHK Animal Savers
Red Panda Beads LLC
Sarah Elizabeth Reilly
Peter & Sally Ann Reiss
Save Flash Forward
Jennifer & Pamela Shropshire
Man Wai P Siu
Alexis & Jillian Skor
Kerri & Rory Wojciechowski
Yates & Holland Family