Transforming Knowledge into Action: Strengthening Management iItervention for Clouded Leopard (Neofelis nebulosa) Conservation in Chitwan National Park, Nepal

21 Oct 2020 Chitwan National Park, Nepal, Indian Sub-continent

Abhinaya Pathak

Our project’s overall aim is to study the status and distribution of Clouded leopard and conserving it and its habitat through strategy development and increasing awareness at local community level. We will develop a Clouded leopard conservation strategy at local level through broad participation of diverse stakeholder. Further, formation of proactive stakeholder network to interact and disseminate awareness among varied stakeholder about conservation of Clouded leopard and its habitat.

Clouded leopard, Neofelis nebulosa, is bearing precipitous declines due to habitat loss and degradation caused by human settlements, overgrazing and deforestation, poaching for fur, retaliatory killing in response to livestock depredation. Big Cats species such as Tiger and Snow Leopard are in special conservation focus, however, the member of same family, i.e. Clouded leopard are not in priority list for the conservation and its habitat management. This has resulted inadequate research, awareness and intervention to conserve this majestic species.

Our project site, Chitwan National Park (CNP) was established in 1973 as the first National Park of Nepal. The park is situated in the southern sub-tropical climatic region of central Nepal, covering 952 km2 in the lowlands of the inner terai with 729 km2 peripheral to the park was declared as a Buffer Zone which consists of forests, human settlements, and private lands. It is world-renowned for its unique diversity of flora and fauna and outstanding natural features. UNESCO designated CNP as a World Heritage Site in 1984 under the World Heritage Convention recognizing its unique biological resources.

Our work in this project will support management authority to prioritize the conservation efforts for the Clouded leopard. Currently, there is not any conservation activities targeted to conserve this species. We will develop conservation strategy to support management authority and aware community about the conservation of the species.

The major activities of our project includes camera Trapping at Key locations, awareness program at the community level which includes marginalized and indigenous community, Women, youth, school students, Community based anti-poaching Units (CBAPU), etc., Interaction program between National level Clouded leopard researcher and conservation stakeholder, Network formation to share information and knowledge on Clouded Leopard and the Clouded leopard conservation strategy development for Chitwan National Park and its buffer Zone.