This is the third in an ongoing series about innovations in wildlife conservation. For the full series, click here.
The tragedy in Nepal has been devastating, and the road to recovery will be long. Through this, it is important to share some of the country’s many successes. As a country that many endangered species call home, Nepal has officially declared a second full 365-day cycle of zero poaching. From February 2013 to February 2014, not a single elephant, rhino or tiger was illegally killed. In 2011 they also officially declared that not a single rhino was illegally killed. This is a huge accomplishment, as the country boasts many animals that are commonly hunted, and illegally killed, for horns, tusks and pelts that sell for large sums in Asian markets.
The entire country was behind this accomplishment; cooperation, on a national level, has been so well coordinated and received that it has lead to new innovations in wildlife conservation. No other country has been able to coordinate so many groups so well.
The national government has a partnership with the World Wildlife Fund, and actions to preserve conservation spread throughout national parks, official wildlife rangers, and even small community groups that helped conservation projects at the local level.
With everyone working together, and fostering strong leadership and communication, many poachers have been caught and arrested. Nepal has adopted a stance of “zero-tolerance for wildlife crime.”
Government officials have greatly helped the fight against illegal poaching. Nepal’s prime minister leads the National Tiger Conservation Committee, the country’s Wildlife Crime Control Coordination Committee is run by the Minister of Forests and Soil Conservation. Staff members from the army and police forces have also been recruited to help track down poachers and ensure the safety of wildlife.
Nepalese officials are also working with other Asian countries to track and protect animals as they travel between borders. One group, the South Asia Wildlife Enforcement Network, helps these efforts.
Knowledge, Tools and Empowerment
From February 2 to 6, 2015, Nepal hosted 13 Asian countries for a conference titled Symposium:Toward Zero Poaching in Asia in Kathmandu, where they discussed different, successful innovations and tools that help fight illegal poaching of wildlife. The event was co-sponsored with the Worldwild Life Fund, the Global Tiger Forum, the National Trust for Nature Conservation and the South Asia Wildlife Enforcement Network. More information about the Symposium: Toward Zero Poaching in Asia conference is here.
Chitwan National Park, located in Southern Nepal, has recently become the first national park, globally, to be accredited by the Conservation Assured Tiger Standards (CA|TS). It officially meets all of the standards needed to ensure prime conservation and protection, and has allowed Nepal’s tiger population to grow in recent years. Find more information about Nepal’s tiger population here.
Ecotourism has also becoming an important factor in helping preserve wildlife. Tourists travel to Nepal to see their unique flora and fauna, so conservation efforts are extremely important. Money from these efforts are also given back to the public “not only from employment, but also from sharing revenue, such as entrance fees and license fees for tour and lodge companies, with local people.” There are roughly 400 community-based groups working against poachers throughout Nepal.
Cooperation on the local level has given communities the knowledge, tools and empowerment needed to successful find, and turn in, known poachers that are active within their immediate areas.
Nepal has also welcomed different innovative inventions, such as drones and canine units, to help track and protect wildlife. These tools can travel to locations that are difficult for humans to reach, and are becoming known amongst poaching groups; as a result, poachers are less likely to fight back and illegally kill.