Background

Action Sheet

  • Location :
    Népal
  • Species status :
    Vulnerable according to IUCN
  • Period :
    February 2010 - February 2013

Sponsor

Field operator

The Greater One-horned rhinoceros, an endangered species

The Greater One-horned rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis) is present in Asia. The species is particularly found in northern India and Nepal.

Until the seventeenth century, it was abundant in Pakistan, Nepal and India. Hunting and agricultural development had reduced the rhinoceros populations to just 100 to 200 individuals in the twentieth century. From 1910 the one-horned rhinoceros was able to increase its population to about 2,500 individuals in 2005 and 2,700 individuals in 2010.

Humans and the one-horned rhinoceros

Humans pose a much greater threat for the one-horned rhinoceros than vice versa.

Today poaching remains a major problem as the greater one-horned rhino horn is used in the Far East for traditional Chinese medicine and in Yemen for the manufacturing of traditional daggers. The prices paid for these items are considerably high in poor areas. India and Nepal are trying to overcome the problem by increasing the number of gamekeepers.

The conservation of the One-Horned rhinoceros

Besides poaching, the total number of rhinoceroses is too limited to ensure the sustainability of the species in the long term. The one-horned rhino population is also found only in a very limited number of areas. The size of these habitat patches is however too small and the rhinos are consequently forced go outside the protected areas onto the wetland areas, devouring crops and causing conflicts with farmers. Obstructing the gene flow between the different greater one-horned rhino populations also poses a serious problem for the species´ conservation.

Field operator

Awely is an international organisation based in France, created in 2005.

Since its inception, we have aimed to put our enthusiasm and our competence in the service of the conservation of endangered species and the ecosystems they share.

In this way, we are able to do our utmost to treat the problems as a whole, and we struggle to find sustaining viable solutions for both the people and the animals. We focus on the two types of programmes—the Red Caps and the Green Caps in the southern regions, always guided by the same principle. We employ people from the local communities, we provide them with education and equipment, and they in turn are most often assisted by a local organisation who shares our orientation and with whom we have signed a partnership contract.

http://www.awely.org

Objectives

Awely with the help from the local populations are working towards reducing the human-animal conflicts in the area, which presently pose a direct threat to the species. Actions presently envisaged include:

• Teaching villagers how to maintain a recently installed fence, which surrounds the park thereby reducing conflicts between humans and rhinos? This will be done with the establishment of educational activities and the production of educational materials such as posters and signs.

• Contribution to the funding of local distilleries of essential oil to help local people economically.

Actions

1. Conflict surveys

Awely´s Red Caps are continuing to carry out surveys to assess the present human-rhino conflict situation in Nepal. With a network of more than a dozen people, the Red caps are able to reach faster the conflict areas and assess the damage done. They also take photos and note the GPS location of each event as well as recording details on the animals, their possible origin and direction based on the tracks left on the ground. The information provided by the victims and/or witnesses of the incidents are also noted. All of these results are then entered in special databases. The Awely team has completed more than 200 surveys since the beginning of 2010.

Objective: To find the origin and understand the development of the conflicts in the region in order to determine the most appropriate solutions to the problem.

Thanks to the work that has been carried out so far, Awely now knows the location of conflict hotspots in the region and may therefore focus its efforts in these areas.

2. Support for farmers victims of conflicts

The Red Caps will intensify their supervision of the identified target groups, especially those located west of the Karnali River. Moreover, this region does not receive any outside support and the populations inhabiting the area have to manage on their own. The impact that these target groups have on the national parks is therefore very negative with the approach of the animals (especially rhinoceroses and elephants) into the conflict areas leading to disturbances.

Objectives: Awely´s survey results will show that this region is in need of prompt and effective conservation measures. The funding received will enable the organization to provide training in alternative crop production to the identified groups of farmers.

3. Alternative crops

The introduction of crops that do not attract the animals is one of the measures that is beneficial to both villagers and rhinos. Awely has successfully produced crops such as mint, chamomile and lemon-grass in India. Such initiatives should be continued as they have been shown to be efficient in reducing animal-human conflicts. Awely will have to define which crops are best suited for sandy soils, in those locations that may become flooded during the rainy season and in those areas that may be able to withstand poor irrigation conditions during the dry season.

In order to test new crops such as ginger or garlic and to determine the rhinoceroses´ reaction to them as well as their potential market, Awely envisages the creation of a test area outside the perimeter of the park. An example of a Red cap program that was carried out in Zambia involved the regular monitoring of the potential damage to the area along with the identification of the species involved.

Awely then plans to step up the training of the farmers. A portion of the crops will be used for the production of essential oils, a non-negligible source of income for the poor populations.

Objectives: To develop this activity in the area west of the Karnali River in order to limit the pressure on the park’s natural resources and improve people´s perception of the rhinos. This should also help to limit considerably the existing conflicts.

4. Education

In parallel to the making of a film early this year, funded by Save the Rhino International and which stressed the existing conflicts involving the region´s wild fauna, particularly those related to the rhinoceros,  Awely is planning to develop a number of learning materials. These will include an update of the region´s animal-human conflicts and mention the species involved. These materials will be especially useful for the Red Caps´ educational activities in schools. Such programs have been successfully implemented by Awely in the Republic of Congo, India and Zambia.

Objectives:

- To improve the villagers´ knowledge on how the number of animal-human conflicts may be reduced.

- To improve general knowledge on the rhinos

5. Fence maintenance

The fence surrounding the western side of the park limits the number of animal-human conflicts but does however require constant maintenance. Awely is already supervising groups that ensure that the park´s fence is well-maintained.

Objective: This funding will enable the continuation of the fence-maintenance training.

6. Emergency fund to support child-victims

Awely has set up a fund in order to assist children who have had one of their parents injured or killed by a rhinoceros and help them to continue their education. Each case will be studied in detail and regularly monitored by the Red Caps.

Objective: To help children in this situation and help them continue with their schooling.

ACTIVITY CALENDAR


2011

  • Production of alternative crops, particularly west of the Karnali River and the establishment of a test area.
  • Provision of training to each of the target farmer groups on the use of these crops in the most conflictive areas. Fence-maintenance training.
  • Development of an educational program and materials on the rhinoceros.
  • Establishment of a support program for child-victims

2012

  • Reinforce the “alternative” crop productions after having assessed the production from the previous year. Reinforce the already established training courses.
  • Support and further develop the education programs already in place according to the results obtained the previous year.
  • Development of an educational campaign based on the conservation of the rhino.
  • Continue support for the child-victim support program.

2013

  • Further support the production of alternative crops
  • Train trainers
  • Further develop educational programs
  • Continue support for the child-victim support program.

News

- In June, 2012 -

Educational booklets to save the Rhino

Awely is currently working on the creation of a 36-pages-long educational booklet, presenting, in Nepali and English, conflicts between humans and animals such as Rhinoceros, their origin and the methods to avoid them.

Indian rhinoceros (© Awely)

- In March, 2012 -

A street theatre to raise awareness about the rhinoceros conservation

Awely recently organised a street theatre to present in a fun way species conservation and conflicts between humans and animals such as the rhinoceros issue. The play has been presented in six villages and has been watched by 100 to 150 villagers each time. The public which showed a positive reaction to the play, expressed his wish to renew the experience.

In order to raise awareness in a larger scale, Awely recently made a beautiful video introducing its actions:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TwFTNcTDLY8


- In December, 2011 –

The protection of the rhinoceros thanks to through the production of alternative crops in Nepal

According to Awely’s study of human-wildlife conflicts within the last years, rhinos preferably raid wheat and lentils. The attractiveness of these plantations is favorable for the populations. Aromatic plants like mentha and chamomile have proven not to be attractive for the pachyderms. For this reason Awely and its local partner organization, the National Trust for Nature Conservation, have propagated the plantation of aromatic crops as alternatives to protein rich cereals, especially close to the forest border. After harvesting the herby are processed in local distilleries to aromatic oils. The oils are then sold to herbal traders, mostly coming from India. The sale for this season was now completed with a great success. A total of 765 farmers have produced and commercialized more than 5000 kg of essential oils, earning on average about 100 Euros per farmer. This shows that alternative crops can be developed in areas that are visited frequently by large herbivores.


- In November, 2011 -

Rhinos  in community forests

On the edge of Bardia National Park, the local majority-Tharus communities, which Awely works, are engaged in agriculture and, to a lesser extent in the rearing of livestock. To reduce the pressure on the natural resources of the park, they have access to community forests, which they can use within strict limits, which are respected, for example to cut wood on specified dates.  Thanks to the way the local populations respect these communal areas, a few rhinos have become used to wandering through paths in the park and to enjoying the freshness of their watering-holes during the hottest part of the day. This is also a means for villagers to benefit from the revenues generated by visiting tourists, who although still too few in number, are able to delight in these memorable encounters with the rhinos.


- In October, 2011 –

Nepal, rhinoceros: Sher Bahadur Pariyar,  new Red Cap at Awely

After the recent departure of Ram Gopal Chaudhary for the continuation of his studies, Awely welcomes as his replacement Sher Bahadur Pariyar in the post of Red Cap at Bardia, Nepal. A native of the region, he has just completed his studies with a specialization in forest sciences. With experience of working with communities, an essential element for a Red Cap at Awely, Sher Bahadur is now participating in the development of the organisation´s activities to reduce conflicts between man and wildlife. Among them, the evaluation of potential alternative crops, which do not attract animals (including rhinos) while being capable of producing income.

Photo legend: Rhinocéros in Bardia National Parc, Nepal (© Awely)


- In September, 2011 –

Strengthening the involvement of villagers in the Bardia National Park in Nepal

The protection of about 50 km2 of agricultural land close to the National Park boundary against rhinos and elephants is assured by an electric fence.

After the clearing operations that were carried out in July, groups of villagers have been trained to cut the tall grass and bushes that have grown on both sides of the fence. The hanging wire has been attached to the poles and missing parts have been replaced.

The regular maintenance of the fence by the villagers has been assured thanks to the coordination of the Red Caps.


- In August, 2011 –

Fence monitoring to save rice production!

With the start of the rainy season paddy farming starts on the fields along the Bardia National Park. This important staple crop however is not only liked by people. Also wildlife, especially rhinos and elephants go for the nutritious rice fields. With the paddy cultivation the new conflict season starts and the Red Caps are getting active to enforce the protection of fields against wildlife. In June the Red Caps made sure that the electric fence along the National Park boundary was in good. The maintenance of the fence has been assigned to the different community groups.


-In July, 2011-

Tharkurdwara grand ceremony at the temple in Nepal

A grand ceremony, involving 200 people was held at the temple Tharkurdwara, close to Bardia National Park. All the villagers in the region were invited to participate. They were likely to seize the opportunity to listen to presentations, attend a play and participate in songs. During this event, Awely´s Red Cap Pradeshu Chaudhary presented the endangered rhinos in Bardia National Park and the methods to avoid conflict with elephants. Like many farmers and their families do not know how to react when they find themselves suddenly faced with a rhinoceros in the forest or in their fields, accidents can easily happen. Pradeshu also highlighted the benefits of having rhinos in the region, particularly in terms of eco-tourism, providing jobs for employees who invest in it.

Limiting human-animal conflicts in support of the conservation of the one-horned rhinoceros in Nepal!

Awely has begun its program of resolving conflicts between humans and wild animals, dedicating its efforts in particular to the impact of rhinoceroses. The two years of research by Awely show very clearly that the rhinoceros is among the species most often involved in conflicts with villagers and that the crop-damage they can cause is often very considerable. Accidents can also happen where villagers are killed or injured. Awely aims mainly to limit these conflicts and to improve the often-negative attitude that farmers may have towards rhinoceroses.

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-In June,2011-

The conservation of the rhinoceros in Nepal

Since 2008, Awely has been coordinating, on the border of Bardia National Park in the southwest of Nepal, a “Red Caps” program aimed at limiting the number of conflicts between villagers and wildlife. This program includes elements of research as well as components of protection, education and development. Thanks to the financial support of the Fonds de Dotation pour la Biodiversité (FDB), Awely is concentrating its efforts on the rhinoceros, a species that is the focus of conflict since it frequently feeds on human crops. This new partnership will enable the planting of alternative crops that do not attract the rhinos, thereby reducing potential conflicts with humans, as well as the carrying out of information campaigns and the creation of educational tools. All of these initiatives will benefit both the rhinos and rural populations who share the same environment.


-In May,2011-

The Red Cap program in Nepal

Since 2008, the organization Awely “Des Animaux et des Hommes”, is developing in the region of Bardia National Park, south west of Nepal, one of its “Red Cap” programs in order to resolve human animal conflicts. The program is based on previous work, which would have preceded the development of a strategy to limit these conflicts as well as development of small-scaled programs. With the FDB´s support, Awely will develop some its action work on rhinoceroses, which are key protagonists in the region´s human-animal conflicts.


-In March,2011-

Hope for Borneo´s endangered biodiversity

To tackle the loss of species, representatives of the Rhino and Forest Fund (RFF) and of the Forestry Department of Sabah / Malaysia have launched a long-term reforestation project to restore forest in Borneo. Borneo’s unique biodiversity is threatened by deforestation and habitat fragmentation. To save endangered species like the Sabah rhino, the clouded leopard, or the orangutan, it is necessary to restore and reconnect degraded and fragmented forest areas. A Memorandum of Understanding was signed on November 8th 2010, between the Sabah Forestry Department and a German-based NGO, the Rhino and Forest Fund, giving the green light for a long-term forest restoration project in and around the Tabin Wildlife Reserve and ensuring that the reserve and the restored areas will remain protected. The first trees were planted in January 2011. The RFF receives scientific support from the Leibniz Institute for Zoo- and Wildlife Research (IZW) Berlin with financial support from Leipzig Zoo in Germany. “We see the charismatic Sabah rhino as a species emblematic of the tropical forest in Sabah. This agreement is a major breakthrough to effectively combine the protection of endangered species like the rhino and the restoration of their natural habitat»,

Dr. Petra Kretzschmar
(Co-founder of the IZW, based in Germany).

Photos Gallery

Rhinocéros indien
Rhinocéros unicorne
rhino_bardia

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Videos Gallery

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