Good tiger, rhino, elephant news from Nepal


This video says about itself:

Wildlife encounters on safari in Nepal at the … Bardia National Park. Wild elephants, one-horned rhinoceros, and amazing encounters and charges by the Royal Bengal Tiger.

From Wildlife Extra:

Nepal celebrates zero poaching year

March 2014: Celebrations are running high in Nepal because for the second time in recent years it has achieved a major milestone in conservation, a zero poaching of tigers, rhinos and elephants for the period February 2013-February 2014. (The last time was in 2011).

At a time when tigers and rhinos are being rampantly poached around the world, this success it is a great reward for the country’s work and commitment to combating wildlife crime, and resounds hope for wildlife.

“The success of achieving zero poaching throughout the year is a huge achievement and a result of prioritising a national need to curb wildlife crimes in the country,” says Megh Bahadur Pandey, Director General of Nepal’s Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation. “A national level commitment is key to encouraging complementing efforts, right down to the grassroots level, in order to address this biggest threat to wildlife not just in Nepal but across the world.”

It is due to strengthened protection and enforcement efforts across the country, led by the government and supported by its conservation partners such as WWF and the National Trust for Nature Conservation. The newly developed Wildlife Crime Control Bureau and the establishment of its 16 district cells together with the Central Investigation Bureau of Nepal Police has also helped create the needed balance between central and local level enforcement to curb wildlife crimes.

“It is a matter of great pride to mark the first World Wildlife Day with the announcement of a year of zero poaching in Nepal,” says Anil Manandhar, Country Representative of WWF Nepal. “We are committed to work with the government, conservation partners and the local communities to redouble efforts to sustain this success.”

“We congratulate Nepal on reducing poaching to zero within its borders,” says Yolanda Kakabadse, President of WWF International. “This achievement serves as a model for WWF’s goal for drastically reducing wildlife crime worldwide – with a combination of brave policy making, determined implementation and robust enforcement.”

To read Sue Watt’s trip report to Bardia National Park in Nepal when she went on the trail of the elusive Bengal tiger please click here.

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Snow leopard news from Nepal


This video is called Full Documentary: Natural World: Snow Leopard – Beyond the Myth.

From the World Wildlife Fund:

Snow leopard successfully collared in Nepal’s Himalayas

18 December 2013

Kathmandu, NepalNepal created new strides in snow leopard conservation with the historic collaring of a snow leopard using satellite GPS technology in Kangchenjunga Conservation Area in the Sacred Himalayan Landscape.

The snow leopard, an adult male approximately five years of age, weighing 40kg and with a body length of 193cm was captured, fitted with a GPS Plus Globalstar collar (Vectronics Aerospace Inc., Germany) and released back into the wild at 10:45am on 25th November 2013.

The collaring expedition that lasted 45 days beginning 7th November was led by the Government of Nepal’s Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation with the support of WWF, Conservation and Adaptation in Asia’s High Mountain Landscapes and Communities Project funded by USAID, National Trust for Nature Conservation, and Kangchenjunga Conservation Area Management Council/Snow Leopard Conservation Committee-Ghunsa. WWF Nepal provided both financial and technical support for the collaring expedition.

“The snow leopard collaring is indeed a new win for Nepal,” stated Mr. Megh Bahadur Pandey, Director General of the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation. “It reiterates the commitment of the government to strengthen measures to better understand and protect the snow leopard whose survival is under threat from anthropogenic actions and the pervasive impacts of global climate change.”

This is the first time that satellite-GPS technology is being used in snow leopard collaring in Nepal. Prior collaring work on the species used VHF technology in the early 80s and 90s. The collaring expedition also marks the first time that local communities through citizen scientists and Snow Leopard Conservation Committees have been involved and who played a key role in identifying snow leopard hotspots for tracking purposes through ongoing camera trap monitoring operations, participating in the collaring operations, and managing local logistics.

Snow leopards are highly elusive creatures and given the terrains they reside in, monitoring work on the species is a highly challenging task,” stated Dr. Narendra Man Babu Pradhan, Coordinator for Development, Research and Monitoring at WWF Nepal. “While past studies on the snow leopard have been limited to areas that are accessible to people, this technology will help provide important information on the ecology and behavior of the wide ranging snow leopard.”

Through data received from the satellite collar, it will be possible to determine their movement patterns, habitat use and preferences, home ranges to identify critical core habitats and corridors between them, including trans-boundary habitat linkages and climate resilient habitats.

“Nepal’s Himalayas are a rich mosaic of pristine habitat, freshwater and wildlife species including the iconic snow leopard,” stated Mr. Anil Manandhar, Country Representative of WWF Nepal. “The success of the collaring expedition opens up new frontiers in snow leopard conservation as well as new avenues to profile Nepal as a living laboratory to help build on international collaboration in conservation science.”

The existing snow leopard conservation projects in Kangchenjunga Conservation Area include snow leopard monitoring using camera traps and prey-base monitoring with the partnership of local citizen scientists and Snow Leopard Conservation Committees, a population genetic study using fecal DNA, and a livestock insurance scheme built at reducing human-snow leopard conflict.

“The snow leopard conservation program has given the local communities the opportunity to build their own capacities in snow leopard monitoring,” stated Mr. Himali Chungda Sherpa, Chairperson of the Snow Leopard Conservation Committee-Ghunsa. “This is further aiding the overall understanding amongst the local communities on the importance of protecting the species thereby building on our commitment towards snow leopard conservation.”

Buddhism and archaeology in Nepal


This video from Nepal says about itself:

Oldest Shrine Found Near Buddha’s Birthplace unearthed in Lumbini 26-11-2013

Earliest ever Buddhist Shrine unearthed in Lumbini

Archaeologists digging at Lord Buddha’s birthplace have uncovered remains of the earliest ever “Buddhist shrine”. They unearthed a 6th Century BC timber structure buried within the Maya Devi Temple at Lumbini in Nepal.

The shrine appears to have housed a tree. This links to accounts in Buddhist chronicles where his mother gave birth while holding on to a tree branch. This is the earliest evidence of a Buddhist shrine anywhere in the world. Tradition records that Queen Maha Maya gave birth to the Buddha while grasping the branch of a tree within the Lumbini Garden.

The narrative of Lumbini’s establishment as a pilgrimage site under Ashokan patronage must be modified since it is clear that the site had already undergone embellishment for centuries. The dig also detected signs of ancient tree roots in the wooden building’s central void — suggesting it was a tree shrine. It sheds light on a very long debate, which has led to differences in teachings and traditions of Buddhism.

By K. Kris Hirst in the USA:

Archaeology and the Buddha

December 8, 2013

December 8th is the traditional date for Bodhi Day, when the historical Buddha Siddartha Gautama is said to have reached enlightenment: when better to speak of the enlightening effects of archaeology?

Several recent archaeological studies associated with the life of the Buddha have been conducted, most recently excavations at Lumbini in Nepal, said to have been his birthplace. The oldest phase of the Maya Devi shrine at Lumbini is securely dated between 550-800 BC, making it the earliest shrine associated with the Buddha to date.

Coningham RAE, Acharya KP, Strickland KM, Davis CE, Manuel MJ, Simpson IA, Gilliland K, Tremblay J, Kinnaird TC, and Sanderson DCW. 2013. The earliest Buddhist shrine: excavating the birthplace of the Buddha, Lumbini (Nepal). Antiquity 87(338):1104-1123.