Guardians of the Red Panda: Pema Pradhan

November 3, 2022 / 5 mins read
Guardians of the Red Panda: Pema Pradhan

Part 2 of a 2-part series features the heroic people protecting red pandas and reforesting their threatened home.

Sonam Lama, the chairperson of Hile Community Forest (Ilam district, eastern Nepal), responds to the situation before her:

“Witnessing lush green forest on the Indian side along Singalila National Park and barren degraded land on our Nepal side aches my heart. Through the Plant A Red Panda Home campaign we are working to build back a dwindling forest and also simultaneously generate sustainable income opportunities for local communities that rely on forest for generations.”


Local people planting trees in Jaubari restoration site.

Forest Conservation Nurseries are pivotal to our restoration campaign and sustainable livelihood programs. These community-managed nurseries provide a sustainable source of native trees (including species that red pandas use for shelter and food) that are planted in degraded red panda habitat, and non-timber forest products which are distributed to local people, contributing to local revenue generation while helping to reduce pressure on forest resources.

They also help to generate jobs: We employ local people as nursery workers who earn income collecting seeds and manure from the forest, making nursery beds, weeding, preparing seeds, transplanting saplings to poly-bags, and nursery construction.

Local woman employed at Jaubari Forest Conservation Nursery.

Sixteen local people participated in our habitat restoration training on June 28th and 29th in Jaubari. They were educated on habitat restoration techniques including site preparation, plant spacing, planting seasons in Nepal, planting methods; post-planting operations like weeding, and protection of the restoration site from weather and livestock grazing.

We established the Jaubari Restoration Committee which is responsible for conducting all restoration activities and post-planting operations. The committee is comprised of local people, mostly women, who have been involved in our habitat restoration efforts. A local woman, Pema Pradhan, who has been helping us plant trees since we started the project in Jaubari, was selected as the coordinator of the committee.

“It has been three years since we planted trees here and we can already see the changes. Forest restoration has provided job and income opportunities by employing us for 15-20 days in a month. This is beneficial for us and our families," says Pema Pradhan in episode 2 of the Habre Guff-Gaff: Conversing Conversation film series.

Pema Pradhan, at Jaubari restoration site, eastern Nepal.

We also started the Jaubari Waste Management Committee to help resolve the poor condition of waste management in Jaubari which is a major challenge to the potential of ecotourism in the area.

Meeting for Jaubari Waste Management Committee.

Participants received tools – along with the Jaubari Restoration Committee, Nepal Police, and Armed Police Force – necessary for habitat restoration, like an earth digger, garden hoes, rakes, trowels and watering cans.

The training also focused on managing Forest Conservation Nurseries, including their importance to restoration, area selection for nursery establishment, nursery design and construction, soil preparation and mixing methods; seed collection, transportation, storage, and treatment. The participants prepared soil and planted saplings in the field as well.

Restoration guardians — including Pema Pradhan — in Jaubari, eastern Nepal.

The trained restoration guardians are now mobilized to Plant A Red Panda Home in the Jaubari area. You can support our restoration guardians in Jaubari and double your impact for our Plant A Red Panda Home initiative here or through our Fifteen for the First Panda campaign!

Read more of the story in part 1 of the series, Guardians of the Red Panda: Restoring Jaubari.

Make difference for the first panda today! Design by Laura Finnegan.