Our international team is headquartered in the US and our Asia team is based in Nepal. Our objective is to produce the largest impact with our funding.

Ang Phuri Sherpa (Red Panda Network – Asia team)

Ang Phuri SherpaCountry Director (Kathmandu, Nepal)
I was born in the Solukhumbu district of the Mount Everest Region of Nepal. During my childhood in the 1970’s, I remember people from my village telling how “Ohprakpa” (red panda in Sherpa language) were caught alive with the help of dogs and sold at a local bazar to earn a few bucks. They did not know what to feed the animal and how to keep it alive for a few days before selling it in the market, so they would feed it a mixture of wheat flour and water. As a child I really did not know whether this treatment was right or wrong and what the importance of this animal was.

I only started knowing the importance of each species when I left the village and started studying biology at a college in Kathmandu in the 1980’s. I then came to realize how people unknowingly trap and kill these wonderful pandas because of lack of knowledge and in an attempt to earn a living. I first appeared in the biodiversity conservation field in the 1990’s as a conservation education teacher for the Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) in Western Nepal. I received a Masters Degree in Protected Area and Tourism Management in 1996 from Lincoln University, New Zealand and became the head of conservation education at the Central Zoo, Kathmandu where I helped to formulate the Conservation Education Master Plan.

From 2001 to 2013, I worked for World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Nepal and wore a variety of hats and accrued many responsibilities. From 2001 to 2005, I worked as Project Manager for the Kangchenjunga Conservation Area Project (KCAP), a joint initiative of WWF and the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation (DNPWC). As planned the Conservation Area was handed over to the local community in September 2006 for community management. Since 2006 I was the Country Coordinator of a regional level program funded by the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF). The CEPF funding enabled local communities and civil society organizations to be engaged in local conservation initiatives in the Kangchenjunga Singhalila Complex and Terai Arc Landscape of Nepal.

After coordinating the CEPF funding, I continued on with WWF Nepal as Program Development Specialist where I helped to develop community-based tourism projects. Then at the start of 2014, I received an opportunity to work as Country Director for Red Panda Network. I am very excited to join the Red Panda Network team and committed to bring in over 12 years of experience in community-based red panda conservation. We are losing red pandas because of shrinking habitats caused by anthropogenic activities, but I have a deep rooted belief that conservation cannot happen on an empty stomach. We must balance the need for conservation along with the need for improving the lives of local people and only then, when people have all their basic necessities met, can we support them in becoming true stewards of natural resources. You can reach me at ang.sherpa@redpandanetwork.org.

Damber Bista (Red Panda Network – Asia team)

Program Manager (Kathmandu, Nepal)
I am really excited to be a part of Red Panda Network, committed to the conservation of wild red pandas and their habitat through the education and empowerment of local communities. I received my Master’s Degree in Environmental Science from Tribhuvan University in Kathmandu. I’m pleased to get this platform where I can utilize the knowledge and ideas on sustainability of communities and biological conservation which I have learned throughout my career. I hope my experience of involvement as an Environment Officer with the SEAM-N Project (a bilateral project of the Nepal Government and the Government of Finland) and as Faculty Member at the Department of Biology at Mechi Multiple Campus, Jhapa in Eastern Nepal will continue to be useful for me to manage and implement the community based projects on red panda research and conservation. You can reach me at: damber.bista@redpandanetwork.org

Pema Sherpa (Red Panda Network – Asia team)

pema_croppedConservation Coordinator (Kathmandu, Nepal)
I was born and raised in the village of Olangchung Gola, Taplejung, in north-eastern Nepal. One day during my childhood, I saw a small reddish animal lying dead on the ground. I didn’t know at the time that it was a red panda. The sight made me feel very sad, and when I returned home, I asked my mother about it. She told me it was nothing unusual – dogs killed such animals frequently in the wild. Nonetheless, this sowed in me a seed of deep passion for conserving wild creatures, which continues to grow today.

In college, I studied forestry and became involved in several wildlife research and conservation organizations. After graduating, I volunteered for a Red Panda Network project charting the presence and distribution of red panda in the Chitwan-Annapurna Landscape (CHAL). Following a two-month internship, I joined RPN as a full-time member of its Asia team. In my role as Conservation Coordinator, I feel driven to give my best effort for the preservation of red panda and their habitat, and I look forward to what opportunities lay ahead.  You can reach me at: pema.sherpa@redpandanetwork.org 

Terrance Fleming (Red Panda Network – US team)

Me&treeMembership and Outreach Coordinator (San Francisco, CA, USA)
Even as a kid, I knew we had to do all we can to conserve the threatened species of this planet. I still believe this, and knowing there are organizations like Red Panda Network leading the conservation charge is very comforting. To be able to be a part of this movement and work with such passionate people to protect such an important (and obviously adorable) species like the Red Panda, is a dream come true. I have a degree in Conservation Biology, currently also work in the Institutional Advancement Department for the University of California, and have nearly seven years of experience providing development and administrative support for nonprofits. I am delighted to be a part of such an inspiring organization and to be able to apply this experience to such a vital cause. You can reach me at terrance@redpandanetwork.org

 

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