Nepal’s progress in wildlife conservation
WWF Nepal ended its USAID-funded Hariyo Ban program in 2021 after 10 years. During this time, the program has achieved several conservation milestones.
Nepal is on track to meet the global target of doubling its tiger numbers as it has recorded tigers at elevations of 2,500 meters in the west and 3,200 meters in the east.
Similarly, the number of one-horned rhinos reached an all-time high with 752 counted last year (694 in Chitwan, 38 in Bardiya, 17 in Shuklaphanta and three in Parsa), a 16.5% increase from to 2015. Nepal also recorded two additional snow leopards in Shey Phoksundo National Park.
When the covid pandemic led to illegal logging, harvesting of forest products and wildlife crime, the programme, in partnership with government, local communities and stakeholders, renewed its efforts to protect forests and wildlife. WWF Nepal alone has helped protect 161,813 hectares of forest by strengthening Forest Conservation Areas (FCAs). In addition, relevant authorities have maintained guard posts, fire lines, revised political assistance and held cross-border meetings with the Indian side to develop a cross-border sharing mechanism.
Efforts have also been launched to reduce fuelwood as the main source of energy, as it harms the environment and the health and safety of communities.
Climate change was another area where the Hariyo Ban program was active. Climate change has affected many small communities in the form of climate-induced disasters such as flooding and riverbank erosion.
To address these issues, the Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan (CCSAP) for each province of Nepal is currently being prepared to localize the National Climate Change Policy which aims to effect a transition to 100% energy. % renewable.
Overfishing, proliferation of aquatic invasive species, unmanaged sand and gravel extraction, pollution, encroachment, siltation, unplanned infrastructure development and groundwater extraction continue to threaten freshwater ecosystems. To address these challenges, seven artificial wetlands have been constructed and restored in Western Tarai. These wetlands are expected to hold approximately 200 million liters of groundwater.
Work has also been carried out to strengthen the access of indigenous peoples and local communities to natural resources and ensure equitable benefit-sharing mechanisms by creating transparent, participatory and inclusive governance mechanisms for the sustainable management of natural resources.