Strengthening Community Anti-poaching and Ecotourism in the Western Terai Complex
Each year, hundreds of millions of endangered species of animals and their body parts are caught and then sold as food, pets, leather, tourist curios, and medicine. Globally approximately 3800 tigers remain in the wild, with vast stretches of empty habitat due to poaching of tigers and their prey. This indicates the magnitude of the poaching problem, which is the most immediate and critical threat to tigers. Despite Nepal’s recent successes and commitment to zero poaching, there is unrelenting threat.
Resource limitations and accessibility make it impractical to eliminate poaching over large landscapes. This project will build on current efforts enhancing Nepal’s world-leading success with community anti-poaching efforts in the Western Terai complex (WTC) through establishing 12 Community Based Anti-Poaching Units (CBAPUs) and Rapid Response (RR) Network, improving anti-poaching intelligence and helping local communities benefit from recovering wildlife population through ecotourism. This project will build capacity for gathering and responding to anti-poaching intelligence, and developing economic opportunities for engaged communities in and around Bardiya National Park, Banke National Park and Suklaphanta National Park.
The main objective of this project funded by Darwin Initiative (DI), UK is to support local communities to enhance their wellbeing through improved alternative livelihoods, and engage them in combatting the Illegal Wildlife Trade by both making poaching relatively less appealing as an activity and ensuring community support for the anti-poaching efforts.
The project is being implemented by Himalayan Nature in collaboration with ZSL Nepal. Major activities carried out by Himalayan Nature included assessment of vulnerability of poaching and illicit smuggling through the IWT Project. Accordingly, 6 (2 per site) communities vulnerable to poaching in Bardiya National Park, Banke National Park and Suklaphanta National Park were identified. Also, site specific RR protocol was prepared and endorsed by DNPWC and tailored it to each site in Banke NP, Bardiya NP and Suklaphanta NP.
Also, two workshops on Conservation Friendly livelihoods and its opportunities were conducted in two Buffer Zone Committees namely Sagarmatha UC and Tri – Shakti UC of Shuklaphanta National Park.
CBAPU members were provided with skill development training on agriculture for alternative livelihood and income generation. Altogether 21 CBAPU members participated in the training supported by Himalayan Nature.