Small Mammal Conservation and Research Foundation serves as consultancy, advocacy, research and conservation development in the field of small mammals and least studies wildlife in Nepal.
The Chandragiri to Champadevi trail, located in the hills near the southern rim of Kathmandu Valley, winds through human settlements and is one of the suitable habitats of Critically Endangered Chinese Pangolin, which also serves as a corridor for Common Leopard. Lack of proper local waste management, litter thrown by hikers, tea houses, hotels and construction workers has impacted local flora and fauna. Plastic has been observed in the scat of the Common Leopard and many cases of entanglement have been reported. Illegal poaching activities like snaring are reducing the leopard’s prey species, forcing it to stray into human settlements to find other potential prey, resulting in conflicts. Funding provided by EOCA will be used to conduct clean-up campaigns along 17.5km of trail, and will work with local communities and government to implement waste management training and installing bins into which rubbish can be separated. A biodiversity survey of the local natural area will be undertaken and information boards about wildlife and waste management will be installed along the trail.
Despite delays caused by the Covid-19 pandemic this project was successfully implemented between 2019-2021.
The project engaged a variety of people from the local communities to local government bodies. The clean-up campaigns involved around 500 volunteers from different walks of life. Waste management workshops improved awareness for locals and school students in the area, including highlighting the harmful and hazardous effect of waste on wildlife. Social media platforms were used to highlight the project’s activities and Facebook posts alone were able to reach almost 49,930 people!
Over the course of the project approximately 32kms of trails were cleaned, removing approximately 600kgs of waste. Eco-friendly bins made of bamboo and information boards were installed to illustrate the biodiversity of the hiking area, as well as highlighting the importance of not littering.
A rapid assessment of the area’s biodiversity was carried out over a 3-week period and found 37 species of mammal, 153 species of bird, 13 butterfly species, 40 tree species, 50 species of shrub and 127 species of herbs. This included globally threatened or near threatened species.
On World Pangolin Day 2021 Nepal’s first “Pangolin hiking trail” was officially declared in Kirtipur Municipality. This short, yet important trail, was created not only to increase awareness about the pangolin habitat and to conserve it, but also to create it as a means of livelihood for the locals; ‘Pangolin Guide” training was carried out with three community members.
SMCRF continue their dedicated, essential work to improve waste management and protect the wildlife and habitats of Kathmandu through collaboration with local communities and local authorities – and we wish them every future success!