Conservation of Vanishing Vulture with Habitat Management, Sustainable tourism and Livelihood Enhancement

August 3, 2017

Nepal Placeholder
Nepal

Conservation of Vanishing Vulture with Habitat Management, Sustainable tourism and Livelihood Enhancement

About the Implementing organization

Name: Community Managed Vulture Restaurant, Nawalparasi, Nepal

Country: Nepal

Year of establishment: 2006

Type of organization: Community-based association or organization

Description

The fact that "Of all the vulture colonies being monitored in South Asia in 2007/08, vulture colony near the vulture restaurant was the only colony to register an increase in nest numbers" revealed the success of the establishment of community managed Jatayu Restaurant. Popularity of the vulture restaurant attracted local communities of other areas in establishing the vulture restaurant. Hence the vulture restaurants have been replicated in Gaidahawa, Rupendehi, Lalmatiya and Bijauri of Dang, Khutiya, Kailali, Ghachok, Kaski and Ramdhuni, Sunsari. All these restaurant sites have shown a positive result with increase in nest numbers. The degradation of wetlands and grasslands is a matter of grave concern for environmentalists, both in Nepal and across the globe. We witnessed wetlands management in action in the Namuna Buffer Zone Community Forest where twenty-five men and women were working to clear dense water hyacinth and water cabbage growth. The community achieve the success to save the grasslands significantly by stooping overgrazing, encroachment, invasive alien plants and uncontrolled or mistimed burning.The project has given training as guides, electricians, plumbers, bee keepers and permaculture farmers. Thus far the initiative has employed over 100+ people within different aspects of the project, we hope that these will become full time positions in the future. We aim to employ 500 people within the next 5 years.

Nature Element

Forests / Wetlands / Grasslands / Wildlife

Type of Action

Protection / Sustainable use / Access and benefit sharing / Awareness and education / Advocacy for land & water rights

Sustainable Development Element

Jobs and livelihoods / Food security / Health / Climate action

Related Sustainable Development Goal(s)

        

Environmental Impacts

The conservation efforts that have been put in place so far have shown some significant output on conserving vultures, promotion of ecotourism, education and awareness and economic incentives, involving the local communities and supporting their livelihoods. There has sighted over 217 vultures around a single carcass at one time. Between 2007 and 2010 there is recorded a 150% increase in the vulture populations in the Buffer Zone, nesting increased by over 200%. Testament to its success is the replica schemes set up in throughout Nepal, India and Pakistan there are now over 10 sites on the sub-continent with more being developed. Community effort on effective grassland management can also help to ensure a healthy supply of cane and thatch for building houses. The 850 households that make up the Namuna Community Forest User Group see vulture conservation, along with grassland and wetland management as a way to ensure sustainable livelihoods for their communities.

Sustainable Development Impacts

This vulture restaurant has helped local communities to benefit from local biodiversity. This is now a tourist attraction and if managed effectively, the adjoining community forest can attract more tourists. The committee works to increase the awareness of local people of the importance of vulture, grasslands and wetlands. They know that unless the grasslands and wetlands are maintained there is little chance of conserving the area’s biodiversity. Any loss of biodiversity is bound to affect their livelihoods which rely to a greater or lesser extent on agriculture, wildlife and tourism. The Namuna ecosystem is home of rare and endangered species such as Bengal Florican; world’s rarest bustard and hog deer. Community working to conserve the Namuna grasslands to prevent species like these from dying out. Rhinos, spotted deer, barking deer, peacocks and thrushes all need grasslands for their survival. If the grasslands are healthy and full of prey, the tiger will come to the grasslands to hunt.

Scalability

The eventual recovery of vultures in Asia will be enhanced if it is possible to protect and retain small but key remaining vulture populations in the wild through creating Vulture Safe Zones (VSZs). Vulture Restaurant are the one of the vital component of VSZ where there is a very low risk of poisoning in the areas surrounding remaining breeding colonies. This site will be vitally important, not just for the numbers they retain within a natural system, but because they are also likely to be utilised as some of the first release sites for captive reared birds. Release efforts will be focused in areas where it has been established that vultures can be protected and birds are likely to congregate. VSZ and Vulture Conservation Breeding Centres are complimentary approaches for conserving vultures. Work on creating VSZs has been lead by Bird Conservation Nepal.

Replicability

Carcasses of domestic cattle are the main source of vulture food in Nepal. Similar efforts have been replicated already in 6 other sites in Nepal and also in Pakistan, Bangaladesh and India. While community initiation has been successful in conserving the vanishing vultures we still need greater efforts, awareness and action to control the spread of diclofenac and ensure the safe food supply to vulture in South Asia.The vulture restaurants have given a ray of hope on conservation of the critically endangered vultures but until a diclofenac free environment is created the vultures will not be safe in the environment. Thus there is needed to focus on expanding the conservation efforts at vulture restaurants to landscape level through setting up vulture safe zones beyond the countries. Efforts will also be made in supporting other vulture range countries in replicating this initiative and establishing a good network for maximizing the impact of vulture safe zones in vulture conservation.

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