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Nepal preps up for Earth Hour

Famously started as a lights-off event in Sydney, Australia in 2007, Earth Hour — the worldwide movement uniting people to protect the planet — is just a few days away from us. Organised by WWF, the event has grown “to engage over 7,000 cities and towns worldwide” since its inception. Nepal is also making preparations to celebrate this “largest global mo-vement for the planet” on March 29.

Unlike the global trend of Earth Hour where people switch off lights for an hour, Nepal will be lighting butter lamps on the day as a part of its celebration. On the same occasion, WWF Nepal is planning to recruit at least 1,000 members under its ‘The Generation Green’ campaign “so that we can provide an incentive and mechanism for the youth under the campaign to use their power and become a super hero for the planet” as per Simrika Sharma Marasini, Senior Communications Officer at WWF Nepal.

The organisation will also be holding a number of activities on the premises of Swayambhunath in Kathmandu. Signing up to WWF’s The Generation Campaign by as many as 1,000 youth starting from 3:00 pm, formal event — live acoustic performance by folk band Kutumba together with live art, slam poetry et cetera starting from 6:00 pm are the event’s highlights.

Besides celebrating the event just for a day, “Earth Hour today shifts from an event to a movement through ‘Earth Hour Blue’ to mobilise an interconnected global community for the sustainable planet,” states Sharma Marasini.

And the involvement of Hollywood stars like Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone in Earth Hour Blue project indicate the same. Garfield is backing an Earth Hour Blue project ‘A Flame Called Hope’ to provide biogas to 100 households in Nepal.

Meanwhile, Stone is supporting ‘Puppy Protectors’ project, that aims to train sniffer dog puppies and their handlers to track animals, find wildlife crime scenes, detect illegal trade items, and chase down poachers with the rangers on the frontlines of Chitwan National Park.

source: Himalayan Times, 27 Mar 2014

Chitwan National Park bags int’l award for maintaining ‘zero poaching’ of rhinos

The Chitwan National Park has received an international award in recognition to its efforts for rhino conservation. The park had taken special measures to protect the one-horned rhino from poaching for the last few years.

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has highly appreciated the measures adopted by the Park Administration to control rhino poaching, the Park Administration informed the journalists in Chitwan Thursday.

Yolanda Kakabadse, International President of the WWF, herself arrived in Chitwan and presented the award, said Tikaram Paudel, Spokesperson and Assistant Conservation Officer of the Park.

Similarly, the NA personnel, who are working in wildlife conservation in the Bardiya National Park, the Buffer Zone Management Committee of the Chitwan National Park, and National Trust for Nature Conservation were also awarded for succeeding to mark the year as a zero poaching period, said, Bishnu Thapaliya, Assistant Conservation Officer of the Park. The Investigation bureau of Nepal Police was also honored with the award.

The Chitwan National Park had marked 2011, too, as the zero poaching year, however, in the later two years, two rhinos were poached.

The Park released a data showing no rhinos were killed in the last 365 days beginning from February 16, 2013, though 10 of them died due to natural causes.

The Chitwan National Park is a special tourism destination to the domestic and foreign visitors because of the rhinos, tigers, wild elephants and crocodiles along with other animals and birds.

The Chitwan National Park alone has a total of 503 one-horned rhinos which is an endangered wild animal species in the world.

source: nepalnews.com, 06 Mar 2014

Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation provides grant to double tiger population by 2022

The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation has awarded a grant to World Wildlife Fund (WWF) for a bold initiative to help Nepal double the population of wild tiger by 2022, the next Chinese Year of the Tiger.

The award was presented on the third anniversary of the historic Global Tiger Summit. The grant will bolster WWF’s work with the Government of Nepal and local communities in five protected areas of Nepal’s Terai Arc landscape to strengthen anti-poaching patrols, protect core areas for tiger breeding, restore critical corridors for their dispersal and expansion, and continuously monitor tiger populations.

Previous support from the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation had proved fruitful as it helped grow the number of tigers in the Terai’s Bardia National Park from an estimated 18 to 50 tigers.

The grant represents the first funds awarded from the successful Christie’s 11th Hour Charity Auction in May, created by DiCaprio.

DiCaprio has long been a passionate advocate for the environment and joined forces with WWF beginning in 2010 to launch Save Tigers Now, a global campaign to raise political, financial and public support to save tigers in the wild.

“Time is running out for the world’s remaining 3,200 tigers, largely due to the result of habitat destruction and escalating illegal poaching,” said Leonardo DiCaprio, a WWF board member.

“WWF, the Government of Nepal and local communities are on the front lines of this battle and I am hopeful this grant will help them exceed the goal of doubling the number of these noble creatures in the wild.”

Nepal is on target to become one of the first tiger range countries to achieve the 2010 Global Tiger Summit’s goal of doubling wild tigers by the next Year of the Tiger in 2022.

The Terai Arc Landscape of Nepal, where the grant will be used, is 9,000 square miles and includes six protected areas that are critical tiger, rhino and elephant habitat. The densely populated region is also home to nearly seven million people, majority of whom who depend on its natural resources for their livelihoods.

“Nepal’s successful tiger conservation programme is the result of the seamless efforts and commitment of the Government of Nepal, its conservation partners including WWF, and the local communities,” stated Anil Manandhar, Country Representative of WWF Nepal.

source: Gorkhapatraonline.com, 22 NOV 2013

Leonardo DiCaprio donates $3m to save tigers in Nepal

Hollywood star Leonardo DiCaprio has donated $3 million (£1.85 million) to help save tigers in Nepal.

The Great Gatsby star made the donation to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) via his charitable foundation.

The funds will be used to significantly increase the number of tigers in Nepal by 2022 – the next year of the tiger.

In a statement, the 39-year-old said he’s “hopeful” the money will help “exceed the goal” of doubling Nepal’s tiger population.

Nepal’s tigers are classified as endangered and – as with the general tiger population – are under threat from “habitat destruction and escalating illegal poaching”.

Art auction

DiCaprio’s donation will help enforce anti-poaching patrols and protect and restore areas for the tigers to breed in Nepal.

So far, the foundation has helped increase the tiger population in Nepal’s Terai Bardia National Park from 18 to 50.

“His foundation is all about delivering real results for conservation on the ground and empowering local communities; nowhere is that more evident than in Nepal,” said Carter Roberts, president of the WWF.

The DiCaprio Foundation aims to protect “Earth’s last wild places and foster a harmonious relationship between humanity and the natural world”.

Earlier this year, the foundation raised $38.8 (£23.9m) million through donations and an art auction at Christie’s in New York.

The tiger grant is the first from the proceeds of the auction, according to the WWF.

DiCaprio will next be seen on the big screen playing the lead in Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street, due out on 17 January.

source: BBC, 22 NOV 2013

7th National Conservation Day highlights snow leopards and Nepal’s conservation leaders

The 7th National Conservation Day organized Monday under the leadership of the Government of Nepal was celebrated with the theme of snow leopard conservation and a call to protect the Himalayas.

“The mountain ecosystem is under threat from the pervasive impacts of climate change,” said President Ram Baran Yadav, who graced the day’s celebrations.

“It is heartening to see conservation leaders, who have been duly awarded for their contributions, take up biodiversity protection as their cause and I hope through this recognition they are further motivated to help protect Nepal’s natural riches including key species such as snow leopards and tigers,” the President said.

National Conservation Day provides a platform to recognize the contributions of individuals and organizations in conservation while also helping motivate a new generation of conservationists.

WWF Nepal felicitated one organization and five individuals through the Abraham Conservation Awards, Matthew Preece & Yeshi Choden Lama Young Conservation Leader Award, WWF Media in Conservation Award and a Special Conservation Award.

The award holds a citation and cash prize of Rs 25,000 for individuals and Rs 50,000 for organizations. WWF Nepal also provided scholarships to four students under the Chandra Gurung Memorial Scholarship, Jill Bowling Schlaepfer Memorial Scholarship and Jennifer Headley Memorial Scholarships to help them pursue higher education in forestry.

Bird Conservation Nepal provided a Lifetime Achievement Award to Mr. Hari Sharan Nepali for his outstanding contribution in the field of bird conservation. Jatayu Scholarships were also provided by Bird Conservation Nepal to two students to support their research in vulture conservation.

Similarly, enforcement agencies from Chitwan National Park, Bardia National Park and Kathmandu were felicitated for their seamless efforts in helping curb poaching and illegal wildlife trade.

Likewise a biography on Late Dr Tirtha Man Maskey “Tiger Warden” published by Wildlife Watch Group was also launched at the ceremony.

A special screening of a video on snow leopards, its population and status, threats and conservation interventions, which was developed by the Nepal Forum of Environmental Journalists, was also done on the occasion.

In an effort to highlight sarus crane conservation and build awareness on the key threats to the species, a special drama was presented by sixteen Eco Club students of Lumbini, a project site of WWF Nepal in partnership with Lumbini Development Trust.

The Government of Nepal declared Asoj 7 (23 September) as National Conservation Day in 2008 in memory of the Conservation Heroes who lost their lives in the tragic helicopter accident on 23 September 2006 at Ghunsa, Kangchenjunga.

source: nepalnews.com, 24 Sept 2013

WWF announces names of conservation prize winners

WWF Nepal has decided to honor five individuals and an organization for their ‘exemplary contribution’ to biodiversity conservation in Nepal.

Announcing the names through a press event today, the NGO dedicated to nature conservation said it will hand over the awards in Kathmandu on September 23 on the occasion of National Conservation Day.

Amarapuri-based Sundari Community Forest Users’ Group in Nawalparasi will get Abraham Conservation Awards under the organization category, whereas Indra Prasad Sapkota, planning officer at the Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation, and Prakash BK, a social mobiliser, will get the prize under the individual category. Pitamber Sigdel, a journalist with Annapurna Post, will get the WWF Media in Conservation Award, while Bikash Pathak Chhetri, coordinator of the Community-Based Anti-Poaching Unit under Kerunga Buffer Zone Users’ Committee in Chitwan, will receive the Matthew Preece & Yeshi Choden Lama Young Conservation Leader Award. Chandra Kala Budha, treasurer at Taranga-Siddhachuli Buffer Zone Users’ Community in Bardia, will get a Special Conservation Award.

“While I am honored to receive this award, I must mention that all my efforts in conservation would have been incomplete without support of local communities, which have shown tremendous commitment towards protecting Nepal’s rich biodiversity,” said Sapkota, one of the awardees. “It is all the more important to address the needs of local communities, especially in the context of human-wildlife conflict, which is one of our immediate challenges.”

WWF gives away conservation awards to organizations and individuals in honor of their outstanding feats in the field of conservation in areas such as natural resource management, biodiversity protection, social mobilization and journalism.

WWF Nepal invites nominations for the awards each year through mass media. It shortlists awardees from a list of nominees that an independent panel of judges comprising eminent personalities from the government, conservation, academic, social and private sectors forwards. The award consists of a citation and Rs 25,000 for individuals and Rs 50,000 for organizations. “For conservation efforts to succeed, leadership of individuals and organizations right at the grassroots is an imperative. This is where energies need to be focused as well as harnessed for greater conservation impact,” said Anil Manandhar, country representative of WWF Nepal. “The Conservation Awards, now in their 19th year, celebrate the power of the human spirit to create change for the sake of a living planet.”

source: Himalayan Times, 22 Sept 2013