Dipendra Adhikari Memorial Conservation Grant Notice

Second Announcement (Deadline: 15 March 2024)

With support from Dipendra’s friends and conservationists in Nepal to honor his legacy, we have established the Dipendra Adhikari Memorial Conservation Grant. This initiative aims to continue his conservation efforts by providing support to students for their project work/thesis/dissertation dedicated to exploring and safeguarding biodiversity of Nepal. The grant seeks to fund student research, initiatives, and practical conservation projects that align with Dipendra’s vision.

Eligibility

  1. The grant is open to individuals who are currently pursuing M.Sc. in Forestry, Environment Science, Zoology, Wildlife and allied natural resources conservation.
  2. The grant is available to Nepalese citizens only.
  3. The grantee should have his/her substantial fieldwork in Nepal.

Scope and Priorities

  1. Studies involving threatened and data deficient species will be given preference.
  2. Studies in biodiversity research in Hyaena distribution range will be prioritized.
  3. Studies in Terai and Siwaliks will be prioritized.
  4. Individuals within the age of 20-30 years will be given preference.

Grant Criteria

  1. Alignment with Scope and Goals: Proposals should align within the scope of the grant and a broader goals of biodiversity conservation in Nepal
  2. Innovation: Projects that demonstrate innovative approaches to wildlife conservation will be favored.
  3. Feasibility: Applicants should present a clear and feasible plan, outlining the project’s objectives, methods, and expected outcomes.
  4. Impact: Emphasis will be placed on projects with tangible and sustainable impacts on the targeted species or ecosystems.

Grant Amount

NRs. 50,000 (Fifty thousand Nepalese rupees); tax will be deducted as per government rules.

Grant deadline

15 March 2024

Requirements

  • A project proposal (including background, significance of the project, objectives, methods, budget, timeline of activities)
  • A reference/support letter from supervisor
  • A CV of the student

Where to submit?

Email: ncrc.research@gmail.com

For more information contact

Nepal Conservation and Research Center

Nepal’s BP Highway threatens endemic, critically endangered lizard, Dark sitana

The dark sitana, a lizard endemic to a town in Nepal, is critically endangered by the loss and degradation of its habitat due to the BP Highway and unplanned urban development.

The critically endangered dark sitana (Sitana fusca), a rare lizard that hasn’t been reported anywhere else in the world, faces a host of challenges for its survival, most of them triggered by the highway development. “The main threat to its existence is the loss of its habitat, which has been fragmented and degraded by the construction of the BP Highway,” says researcher Santosh Bhattarai, who is pursuing a Ph.D. in herpetology.

The news has been featured in the following link on Mongabay.

Re-print of Dark sitana poster

We printed 1000 copies of Dark sitana poster for conservation outreach in schools and communities in Dark sitana range sites. During our school and community sessions, we taught conservation importance of Dark sitana and other reptiles of the region. We also distributed a copy of the poster to the session attendees. We also circulated our photographs of our outreach sessions in social media. We received overwhelming responses for poster and session requests within Dark sitana range and beyond Dark sitana range where other species of sitana are found. Due to high demand of poster and session requests in schools and communities, we are printing again 1000 copies of the same poster.

Dark sitana poster contestants awarded

Dark sitana “conservation poster” contest was announced at our social media platform herpsNEPAL. A total 22 contestants designed and submitted the poster. The idea of the photo contest was to make members of herpsNEPAL aware about Dark sitana and get better poster design insights. Among all the contestants, two winners (Ms Shreeya Manandhar and Sanej Prsad Suwal) were selected as the best poster designers. The best poster designers were awarded with Dark sitana conservation T-shirt. Ms Shreeya Manandhar is a postgraduate student of Kathmandu University and Mr. Sanej Prasad Suwal is affiliated to NCSC- an NGO based in Kathmandu.

Bishal Neupane,- NCRC-fellow handing over the T-shirt to one of the winners Ms. Shreeya Manandhar.

World wildlife day 2023 marked for Dark sitana (Sitana fusca) conservation in Nepal

Every year world wildlife day is celebrated on 03 March to commemorate the conservation efforts. Nepal Conservation and Research Center (NCRC) and Mithila Wildlife Trust (MWT) jointly marked the day in Madhesh province, Nepal with two different activities for Dark sitana (Sitana fusca) conservation aligning the theme of world wildlife day “Partnership for conservation” among women group and school students.

The Dark sitana (Sitana fusca) is a critically endangered lizard endemic to Nepal, so far only known from Madhesh province of Nepal. Therefore, to raise awareness on ecological and conservation importance of Drak sitana, we conducted an awareness session for peri-forest women group of Dudhpani community forest, Dhanusha. We also explored the local names and beliefs to respect the indigenous perceptions towards reptiles. We presented slides and video session whether they are aware of the presence of Dark sitana in their community forest or not. We distributed a copy of printed poster of Dark sitana to the participants of the session.

Session with students

We also marked world wildlife day with students at Mahadev Adharbhoot school to imprint conservation importance of Dark sitana and other wildlife in young minds. We found students were very keen and inquisitive to learn about biodiversity around them. We displayed the video of Dark sitana and other wildlife and presented about their behaviour, ecological significance and how students could be the part of the larger conservation arena.

World Wildlife Day celebration at Mahadev school

Hyna (कुचिकार )

हेलामा परेको प्रकृतिको कुचिकार ‘हाइना’

काठमाडौँ – अमेरिकाको विस्कन्सिन-म्याडिसन विश्वविद्यालयबाट बाघबारे अध्ययन गर्न आएकी सामन्था हेलेले दाङ र बाँकेको राप्ती नदीको छेउछाउ तथा जंगल नजिकका बस्तीमा ३२ वटा क्यामेरा राखिन्। बाघका लागि राखिएको क्यामेरामा उनले नसोचेको हाइना पनि देखिए। अनि उनले आफ्नो इन्ष्टाग्राममा हाइनाको तस्बिर राख्दै लेखिन्:

हाइनाज्नेपालमाहो !

 

हामीले हाम्रो क्यामेरामा स्ट्राइप भएका बाघहरू मात्र  कैद गरेका छैनौँ।

स्ट्राइप हाइना धारीदार हाइना (ह्याना हाइना) नेपालमा अत्यन्त दुर्लभ र लोपोन्मुख छन्। यो अनुमान गरिएको छ कि देशभरि १०० भन्दा कम हाइनाहरु छन्।

यी जनावरहरूलाई क्यामेरामा कैद गर्नु एकदमै गज्जबको खुसी हो!

‘म हाइनाबारे जानकार होइन तर मैले बाघका लागि राखेका अधिकांश क्यामेरामा हाइना परेको छ,’ उनले भनिन्, ‘मैले पूर्ण रुपमा क्यामेरा अध्ययन त गरेको छैन तर १२ वटा जति हाइना मेरो क्यामेरा पेरका छन्।’

बाघमा विद्यावारिधि गरिरहेकी हेले करिब ५ महिनादेखि नेपालमा छिन् र चितवन, नवलपरासी, दाङ, बाँकेलगायतका क्षेत्रलाई आधार बनाएर बाघको आनीबानी अध्ययन गरिरहेकी छन्।

नेपालमा स्ट्राइप हाइनाको संख्या यति नै छ भन्ने तथ्याङ्क त छैन तर बढेको अनुमान गरिएको छ। पछिल्लो समय विभिन्न ठाउँमा हाइनाको मुभमेन्ट देखिने गरेको छ, जसको पुष्टि सामन्था हेलेले राखेका क्यामेरामा परेको संख्याले गरेको छ।

नेपालमा कहाँ–कहाँ भेटिएका छन्?


 

Source : https://deshsanchar.com/

Chilapata rain-pool frog

Chilapata rain-pool frog spotted for the first time from Nepal

NCRC’s team members have recorded a new frog species for Nepal from Morang district and Barandabhar corridor forest, Chitwan, Nepal. The frog known as Chilapata rain-pool frog (Minervarya chilapata), the name Chilapata rain-pool frog has been given to this species because it was described from Chilapata Reserve Forest of West Bengal, India.

Chilapata rain-pool frog

Chilapata rain-pool frog from Morang, Nepal. Photo: Bivek Gautam

The physical appearance and characters on the body of the frog with brown backed body with golden whitish mid dorsal line, upper lip of the frog with white line and belly part whitish and side part of body with black stripe made this frog different from other known Minervaryan frogs from Nepal. On closer look, the whitish vocal sac also differed from all other known species.   After careful observation, physical and measurement of the body parts and call analysis of the male frogs, it turned to be a new species record for Nepal and confirmed to be Chilapata rain-pool frog.  Recently, the observation of this frog has been published in the journal Herpetozoa by the team members Bivek Gautam (BRCS) and Santosh Bhattarai. For full paper, click on the (Link)

Softshell_Turtle

A success story: Eggs hatching and release into the wild of an Endangered Narrow-headed softshell turtle from Chitwan, Nepal.

Chitwan National Park is famous for rhinos and tigers, hold second largest population of Greater one-horned rhino in the world and known as ‘rhino land’ as this park hosts highest number of Greater one-horned rhinos and tigers in Nepal. The occurrence of highly charismatic species such as rhinos and tigers have received conservation attentions by park authorities and other conservation agencies. The conservation interventions only for these charismatic species have kept other species such as turtle into “shadow”. A recent study on “Notes on sucessful Nest Relocation of Chitra indica (Gray, 1831) from Chitwan National Park, Nepal” by Bed Bahadur Khada, Saneer Lamichhane and NCRC team member Santosh Bhattarai highlights the conservation actions needed for and Endangered turtle species, Narrow-headed softshell turtle.

Chitwan National Park experiences irregular floods every year. The construction of dyke on the bank of the river towards village side to save buffer zone villages of the park and excavation of riverbed materials (such as sand, gravel, stone etc) have changed the habitat of aquatic animals such as turtles and crocodiles and has limited the safer nesting grounds for such aquatic animals. The team observed three nests of Narrow-headed softshell turtle in flood prone inundation zone in the Rapti river of Chitwan National Park.

Figure 1. Nest of Narrow-headed softshell turtle in Rapti river, Chitwan National Park. Photo: Bed Khadka

The team relocated safely collected 496 eggs from three nests from the riverbank and relocated to the safer site with same size and dimension nests. The eggs incubated and hatched in seminatural condition and hatchlings emerged in 54 ( averaged days for three nests).

Figure 2. Hatchlings from relocated nest. Photo: Bed Khadka

Out of 496 eggs, 375 hatchlings were safely released in the wild in the Rapti river of Chitwan National Park. The successful eggs collection, hatching in safer site and release into the wild is a success story of and Endangered turtle species to send back the hatchlings in their original home. However, its is and indicative that there is many actions awaiting to safeguard the nesting and breeding habitat of turtles and other aquatic habitat. Park authorities and tiger and rhino centric conservation agencies should implement integrated conservation steps.

Figure 3. Hatchlings of Narrow-headed softshell turtle after release into the wild in Rapti river. Photo: Bed Khakda

A new lizard for Nepal spotted

A new lizard for Nepal spotted from Nepal’s “FORGOTTON TIGER LAND

NCRC’s team members have recorded a new lizard species for Nepal from Chure hills of Morang district, Nepal. The lizard known as Sikkim grass lizard (Takydromus sikkimensis), the name Sikkim has been given to this species because it was discovered from Sikkim in 1888. The researchers are worried for its conservation because it is already categorized as Endangered by IUCN.

Figure 1. Sikkim Grass lizard from Miklajung Morang. Photo: Bivek Gautam

During biodiversity survey in Chure range of Miklajung Morang, a team of researchers from Biodiversity Research and Conservation Society and Nepal Conservation and Research Center spotted a lizard which was not previously encountered by them. The physical appearance of the lizard with brown upper body parts and greenish coloration on mouth and underparts stroke in mind of the team “this is something which never been reported before from Nepal”. On close observation and after measuring the body parts and counting the physical characters of the body, the lizard turned to be a new species record for Nepal and known as Sikkim grass lizard (Takydromus sikkimensis); previously thought to be found only in the state of Sikkim, India (hence the species name is named as sikkimensis). Recently, the observation of this lizard has been published in the journal Herpetozoa by the team members Bivek Gautam, Santosh Bhattarai and Ram Chandra Kandel ( link).

The lizard is a diurnal species which becomes active during the daytime. The lizard was first spotted from upper Chure region of Miklajung Mornag from Schima-Castonopis mixed forest. Although the new record has been published from Miklajung Morang, “We later spotted this species from Panchthar and Ilam districts during our other herpetofauna expeditions” Said Bivek Gautam. The lizard has already been listed as Endangered in the IUCN Red List due to human induced survival threats to the species.

The lizard was spotted approximately 100 km west from its previously reported location in Sikkim, India. “The habitat we recorded in Nepal is also facing same grave threat for the survival of the lizards, the Chure hills in Nepal is most vulnerable landscape in Nepal with unregulated resource extraction” said Santosh Bhattarai, herpetologist from Nepal Conservation and Research Center. Bhattarai also added “Even Nepal’s tiger centric conservation efforts by the Government of Nepal and conservation organizations have overlooked the conservation potential of Chure/Sivalik hill ranges. Therefore, this hill range is also sometimes termed as “Forgotten tiger land” by the tiger experts of Nepal”. The efforts should be made for regular monitoring of the biodiversity of the Chure hills of Nepal and biodiversity rich areas should be taken into account for conservation and management.

Some media coverage about the Sikkim Grass Lizard (In English)

Some media coverage about the Sikkim Grass Lizard (In Nepali)