Eco Zoo Trips

We are offering zoo staff and volunteers from around the world this discounted opportunity to join Red Panda Network on a spectacular 12 day adventure into the forests and mountains of Nepal to experience red pandas in the wild!

Join us for a journey-of-a-lifetime to visit red pandas in the wild! It will take you into the cloud forests and communities of the Himalayas. You will see breathtaking views of Mount Kangchenjunga and Mount Everest and will be exploring one of the most biologically diverse areas in the world.

We’ll hike through some of the Eastern Himalayas most pristine forests in search of one of Asia’s most elusive mammals; the red panda. We’ll also look out for bears, clouded leopards, monkeys/macaques, and other rare mammals and bird species.


These trips are led by either Sarah Jones, a former zookeeper at Hamilton Zoo, New Zealand who has been actively involved with the Red Panda Network (RPN) for more than 10 years, or Ramesh Chaudhary, who is a local professional nature guide and conservationist.

All trip lodging and food, porters, nature guides, local travel, and supplies is provided by local sources which supports ecotourism, as well as sustainable employment opportunities for the people of these communities. Your trip payment also directly supports our community-based conservation initiatives including our Forest Guardian program, which employs local people as professional forest stewards

Next Scheduled Trips Are:

  • November 20-December 1, 2018 ,5 spots left
  • November 19-30, 2019 – Ilam (Choyatar), Eastern Nepal

Cost: $2,350 USD

What’s included?

  • All airport transfers, meals and lodgings, domestic (in-country) flight, car and jeep transport, guides and porters in Kathmandu and the field.
  • Lodgings are in rustic teahouses and homestays. Hotel accommodation in Kathmandu and tea gardens.
  • We cater for everyone – Vegetarian and Non Vegetarian

What’s not included?

  • Your international airfare to Nepal and visa fees
  • Bottled and alcoholic beverages
  • Personal expenses

Check out our Ecotrips FAQs

Related articles:
A Unique Strength: How Ecotourism Can Save the Wild
Zoo Staff and Volunteer Ecotrips: Q : A With Trip Host Sarah Jones
Conservation Firsthand: A Look At Ecotrips with the Red Panda Network
Red Panda Network Ecotrip Anyone? 10 Reasons To Go!  

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What To Expect:

  • Cultural guided tour of Kathmandu, it’s palaces, temples and market places
  • Traditional Nepali cuisine
  • Overnight hotel stay in beautiful tea gardens
  • Sleeping in rustic teahouses and homestays in high altitude surroundings
  • Immersing yourself in daily mountain village life
  • Being exposed to four of the world’s seven tallest mountains
  • Working alongside Forest Guardians in the field observing Red Panda and habitat monitoring
  • Searching the cloud forests for Red Panda
  • Opportunities to observe other unique forest species such as the Clouded Leopard, Common Leopard, Himalayan Black Bear, Yellow Throated Marten, Bengal Fox, Golden Jackal, Assam Macaque and more than 120 species of birds including the Wood Snipe, Satyr Tragopan, Common Teal, Fire-tailed Myzornis, Maroon-backed Accentor, Rufous-throated Wren Babbler, and the Rusty-fronted Barwing.
  • Seeing first hand our community conservation work in action and how profits from this Eco Zoo Trip directly benefit our most important conservation partners: the rural communities who need alternatives to forest exploitation.

Download the official poster for zookeepers and RPN volunteers and see the trip itinerary below:

*Official poster by Shiru Studio

Sample Trip Itinerary

Day One:
Arrive at Kathmandu airport and be greeted transported to your accommodations. Free time before meeting with fellow ecotrippers and RPN team and then dinner and trip debriefing in the evening.

Day Two:
All day guided site seeing in the vibrant and beautiful Kathmandu Valley – visiting palaces, marketplaces and temples.

Day Three:
Late morning 45 minute domestic flight to Bhadrapur, with spectacular views of the Himalaya ranges including Mt. Everest, Mt. Kangchenjunga, Mt. Lhotse, Mt. Makalu. Then we travel by road to Ilam and begin our journey north into the mountains, passing tea gardens and Nepali communities. Overnight hotel stay in Ilam, overlooking tea gardens.

Day Four:
Leave Ilam after breakfast and bird watch while traveling up the mountain by road (3:30 hours) and during a light hike (30 minutes) as we ascend higher into prime red panda habitat. We arrive at Choyaatar in the late afternoon – the village closest to red panda habitat and our base for the next four nights. Light hike in the evening for community visit. Overnight home stay at Choyaatar village (2200 m).

Day Five, Six and Seven:zkwebpage2
The next three days we will wake up early to begin tracking red pandas in the alpine temperate forests with RPN Forest Guardians. We will also likely see other mammal and bird species throughout the day. We will stop in local homes for lunch and hot refreshments and immerse ourselves in the community with fun tasks including traditional Nepali cooking lessons in the evenings.3 night home stays in Choyaatar.

Day Eight:
Early breakfast, pack up and leave for Jaubari (small town at the Nepal India border). Hiking and looking for red pandas and bird watching enroute and arrive at Jaubari at around noon (2:30 hours). Light hike in the evening to see beautiful landscape and RPN’s plantation area for red panda habitat restoration project. Overnight stay in Jaubari (2890m).

Day Nine:
Depart after early morning breakfast for the incredible and picturesque Sandakpur (6 hour walk). The highest peak in the Singhalila range (3,636 m), with breathtaking sunsets over Mt Kangchenjunga and Mt Everest.

Day Ten:zkwebpage3
Early rise (still dark out) we make our way to vantage points for the panoramic view of the impressive Himalayas with the rising sun. After breakfast we hike back down to Dobato village (2 hours walk) for lunch in the mid afternoon. Light walk in the evening visiting the community. Overnight Stay at Dobato village(2,650m).

Day Eleven:
Breakfast and red panda tracking in the early morning. Then leaving for our scenic drive back to Ilam after lunch with an overnight stay in a hotel overlooking tea gardens.

Day Twelve:
Our last day, departing for Ilam after breakfast by road for the return journey back to Kathmandu with our group farewell dinner in the evening.

The maximum group size is 8 so sign up today to secure your place! For questions please email us at!

SignUp Today !

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