- Issue: Winter 2014
Even though Nepal only covers an area roughly the size of Iowa, its intrepid approach to protecting the environment has made it a conservation giant. As WWF-Nepal celebrates its 20-year anniversary, here’s a look at some of the country’s biggest environmental achievements.
A Living Laboratory
Together, Nepal and WWF have implemented major conservation innovations over the past two decades—and influenced the world. Here, a few of those initiatives, as well as a sampling of other regions where WWF is helping implement them.
Piloting new antipoaching technology
Northern Great Plains
Expanding community stewardship
Protecting natural wildlife corridors
Northern Great Plains
Human-wildlife conflict mitigation
Nepal's Conservation History (1957-2014)
Wildlife Conservation Act is the first act to identify the importance of protecting wildlife in Nepal.
WWF starts working in Nepal when it launches a rhino conservation program in Chitwan Valley.
[Late 1960s] First rhino conservation units are set up to start protecting depleted rhino populations.
Nepal establishes Chitwan National Park, the country’s first national park.
WWF grants $38,000 to the Smithsonian to study tigers in Chitwan, allowing scientists to successfully use radio tracking for the first time.
National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act provides for the conservation of natural areas and wildlife and sustains the welfare of the people.
27 mammal species, 9 bird species and 3 reptile species are given legal protection under the National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act.
Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation is set up as a separate entity under the Ministry of Forest and Soil Conservation.
Royal Bardia National Reserve is officially formed.
WWF expands conservation programs in Asia, showcasing the new Annapurna Conservation Area, the largest protected area in the country.
Royal Bardia National Reserve becomes Royal Bardia National Park, Nepal’s largest national park.
Nepal now has 10 national parks, 3 wildlife reserves, and 6 conservation areas, a system which covers more than 13,000 square miles—an area larger than the US state of Maryland.
WWF begins antipoaching work with Nepal. WWF-Nepal and the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation seek to identify deterrents to tiger and rhino poaching in the national parks. Antipoaching units are formed in Chitwan and Bardia national parks.
Community-based antipoaching units were originally set up to reduce the level of poaching of tigers and rhinos, but quickly became involved in monitoring the trafficking of other wildlife species and their products. Today there are more than 400 units working throughout the country.
WWF-Nepal office is established in Kathmandu.
Forest Act empowers the government to hand over forest areas to local communities for management as community forests.
Rural communities play a huge role in protecting Nepal’s forests: about 18,000 community forest user groups have been established throughout the country since 1980.
Maoist insurgency begins. Much of the country’s conservation work is derailed as resources are redirected to the conflict.
The government of Nepal declares Kangchenjunga, the world’s third-highest mountain ecosystem, as a special conservation area.
Kangchenjunga means “the five treasures of snows.” The mountain landscape is home to more than 250 species of birds and animals, including snow leopards.
In the Terai Arc of the Eastern Himalayan lowlands, WWF spurs progress toward the ambitious goal of creating wildlife corridors linking 11 protected areas between India and Nepal.
Maoist insurgency ends, and Nepal's rhino population is drastically lower than before the conflict.
Following the historic handover of Kangchenjunga Conservation Area from the government to the local community, a helicopter carrying WWF staff members Dr. Chandra Gurung, Dr. Harka Gurung, Jennifer Headley, Yeshi Choden Lama, Matthew Preece, Dr. Jillian Bowling Schlaepfer and Mingma Sherpa, as well as other conservation leaders, crashes in Nepal, killing all 24 passengers on board.
After years of antipoaching progress, Nepal reports 365 days of zero poaching.
Nepal loses only one rhino to poaching.
Hariya Ban Program launched.
Nepal and India embark on the first-ever joint tiger survey covering the entire Terai landscape and using a common methodology.
WWF-Nepal celebrates 20 years.
Nepal celebrates another 365 days of zero poaching.
Nepal launches The Generation Green.