Indian Rhinoceros Project updates
- 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)
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:
- In December, 2011 –
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.
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
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 –
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.
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 (The Explorers Foundation), 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.
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 The Explorers Foundation´s support, Awely will develop some its action work on rhinoceroses, which are key protagonists in the region´s human-animal conflicts.
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).